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Faith

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Divine Encounters With Jesus - Only Believe

CLICK HERE TO SEE "HEARING GOD'S VOICE"

Date - Sunday, July 26th, 2015

The Body Church
3015 Rainbow Dr,
Suite #142,
Building #3009,
Decatur, GA 30034

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

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The Miracle of Sarah’s Conception

baby

Today's blog is an excerpt from Faith Science.

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. - Hebrews 11:11–12 kjv

I defined the spiritual method as, “The use of faith in the Word of God as the activation energy necessary to cause matter to change form.” Sarah’s faith in the Word of God directly transformed her physical body. Her faith caused a successful reaction between the spiritual matter of the Word of God and the physical matter of her body, resulting in the miraculous conception of Isaac. Withal, these words of Paul in Hebrews 11:11–12 merely scratch the surface of this powerful case study of the practical application of faith in the life of Sarah.

God promised Abram the same blessing over and over until Abram finally stood up to God in Genesis 15 and questioned him concerning his descendants. In Genesis 15:2–6, Abram complained that even though his blessings were great, he had no children of his own to inherit them. In response, God reassured him that he would have a son and gave him an object lesson by comparing the number of his future descendants to the stars in the sky. He then made a covenant with him that would never be broken.

In Genesis 16, things got interesting. Up to that point, God had given all of his directions to Abram and nothing to Sarai (before the name change). Therefore, Sarai was standing on Abram’s faith, and that was not enough to sustain her. She agreed that God’s plan for the family was great, but she just couldn’t conceive the possibility of it taking place without a little help. She understood her physical inability to have children and came up with her own plan.

In Genesis 16, she offered her servant, Haggai, to Abram so he could have a child. That was not God’s plan, but he allowed it to take place. He blessed Ishmael, the son of Haggai and Abram, but made it clear that his descendants would present a major problem in the future. Even though the name Sarah was placed in the Hall of Faith listed in Hebrews 11, she showed a human side just like the rest of us.

How many times have you tried to help God’s plan by taking steps of your own? Maybe God told you that he would give you a husband or wife on his schedule but you decided to settle with someone because you didn’t want to miss a great opportunity at your age. Maybe God told you that he would bless you with a nice car and you took out a loan on a luxury car that you could not afford.

Maybe you did that with your house. Maybe you did that with your ministry. God promised you great expansion, and you expanded on your own instead of waiting for his plan to come into effect. Twenty-four years after the initial move from their homeland, God renewed his covenant with Abram and Sarai, which included changing their names to Abraham and Sarah. He then promised Abraham that the heir of all of his wealth would come from a union between him and his wife. In Genesis 18, God spoke to Sarah for the first time. God also visited Abraham at his home with two angels in the form of human beings and spoke face-to-face with him.

This is important because some Christians don’t take it literally when God said that he made man in his image and his likeness in Genesis 1:26–27. They cannot conceive that we look anything like God. Well, guess what? God showed up with two angels in Genesis 18:1, and all three looked just like regular men. They sat down, let Abraham wash their feet, and ate physical food prepared for them. Now that’s fascinating! According to 1 Colossians 2:9, the fullness of the Godhead lives in the body of Jesus Christ. Hence, whenever God appeared on earth, whether in the Old or New Testament, he was Jesus.

“Where is Sarah, your wife?” the visitors asked. “She’s inside the tent,” Abraham replied. Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband— is also so old?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.” But the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.” - Genesis 18:9–15 nlt

God told Sarah that she would have a son within one year, and she laughed. Thus, if you think you’re a loser because you didn’t believe what God said to you the first time, you’re in good company. I guess I’m too young to care about the impossibility of some of God’s promises. I believe everything like a little child does. If God says it, then I believe it and I keenly wait for it all to come to pass in my life. One day I’ll lead the church of Jesus Christ to a place where they believe God’s ability to give them victory over physical death through the power of his Holy Spirit.

Maybe it’s laughable to some people, but it’s as real as can be. What has God said to you that you still don’t believe? Do you really think he can’t get you out of poverty? Do you really think he can’t heal you of a terminal illness? Is anything too hard for the Lord? Jesus said in Matthew 19:26 that with God all things are possible, and then in Mark 9:23, he said that all things are possible to you if you believe.

Faith is more than just a religious exercise. Faith is God’s secret to getting things done. Do you want to be like God? Then operate in faith. If he says something, believe it, even if the only evidence you have is what he says. Remember that just because something is invisible and mass-less doesn’t mean that it does not exist. The lesson learned from the miracle of Sarah’s conception is that even when you initially doubt a word from the Lord, if you eventually choose to believe, he’ll still do it!

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Don't Be Shaken By Bad News! Only Believe!

Don't Be Shaken By Bad News! Only Believe!

Mark 5:35-36(NKJV) - While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

For a moment things looked quite good. Jesus was on His way to the ruler's house to heal his daughter. All would be well. There was nothing to worry about. Things were working out perfectly. That was, until he received the only news that could have spoiled everything. His daughter was dead. They were too late. His heart sank and Jesus noticed. Immediately, sensing his fear, Jesus made a profound statement that would change the course of what seemed inevitable, "Do not be afraid; only believe."

Welcome to today's blog. If you haven't done so already, read yesterday's blog; "God Knows Best!" This week we're reminded to trust God and today our emphasis is on doing so even when we receive bad news. Think about it. Nothing kills a great day like some bad news. You may have been on a blessing streak riding high from victory to victory but all of that goes out the window when suddenly something goes terribly wrong. Bad news just has a way of stopping your positive momentum like a brick wall.

When bad news struck the ruler of the synagogue, thankfully Jesus was right there with him. In response He presented a two-pronged solution for handling bad news;
1) Don't fear.
2) Only believe.

1 John 4:18(KJV) - There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Fear becomes a huge problem whenever we hear bad news. Romans 10:19 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by The Word of God. In the same way, fear can also come by hearing and that's one reason why bad news is so dangerous. So much so, that Jesus instantly released an encouraging word to the ruler of the synagogue to counteract the bad news and put an end to fear. So what tools are available in The Bible to help us win the war over fear?

The first is perfect love which has the power to cast out all fear. What's perfect love? Simply put, it's The Love of God. As a result, we must receive and be sure of God's Love for us if we are to defeat all fear. It's not a very complex solution but it's an effective one. The moment we receive bad news, our next thought should be to remind ourselves of God's Love. It doesn't matter how bad it sounds, never let it cause you to question God's Love because without it you are incapable of combating the powerful grip of fear.

2 Timothy 1:6-7(AMP) - That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you by means of the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination]. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

Another Biblical tool available to combat fear is the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. This approach looks at fear from a purely spiritual perspective. In this case, it's referred to as a spirit of fear and The Bible clearly states that it does not come from God. What does come from God is the gift of The Holy Spirit who provides us with power, love, a well-balanced mind, discipline and self-control. Therefore, when fear strikes, respond by stirring up the gift of The Holy Spirit inside of you. Respond to bad news with instant prayer, worship, praise, singing and/ or talking in tongues. Otherwise, just find an atmosphere where The Holy Spirit is active like your local church. In that way, you stir up the gift of The Holy Spirit and cast out the spirit of fear. A perfect example of this took place in Acts 4:29-35.

Acts 4:29-35(KJV) And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

When their lives were threatened, they prayed for boldness and how did God respond? He filled them with The Holy Ghost. Armed with such a poignant illustration, it should be obvious to us that we need a fresh infilling of The Holy Ghost whenever we feel afraid. It's The Holy Ghost who will give us the boldness to keep believing God in the face of bad news.

Psalm 27:13(NKJV) - I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.

If you let bad news cause you to stop believing God you have been defeated. There's not much you can do if you remain in that position. Jesus ensured that the ruler of the synagogue kept believing right after he heard of his daughter's death. That's truly because it was his only option. If he stopped believing, his daughter was not going to live again. When we're stuck in a terrible situation and we need a miracle from God to get us out, all we have is our faith. Therefore, we cannot lose heart and stop believing. Don't be shaken by bad news! Only believe! We'll continue from here tomorrow.

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Sometimes Playing It Safe Is Not Really Safe

Step Out On Faith

Luke 19:16-26(MSG) - “The first said, ‘Master, I doubled your money.’ “He said, ‘Good servant! Great work! Because you’ve been trustworthy in this small job, I’m making you governor of ten towns.’ “The second said, ‘Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.’ “He said, ‘I’m putting you in charge of five towns.’“The next servant said, ‘Master, here’s your money safe and sound. I kept it hidden in the cellar. To tell you the truth, I was a little afraid. I know you have high standards and hate sloppiness, and don’t suffer fools gladly.’ “He said, ‘You’re right that I don’t suffer fools gladly—and you’ve acted the fool! Why didn’t you at least invest the money in securities so I would have gotten a little interest on it?’ “Then he said to those standing there, ‘Take the money from him and give it to the servant who doubled my stake.’ “They said, ‘But Master, he already has double . . .’ “He said, ‘That’s what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag.

Interesting parable, isn't it? I once wasted my breath arguing with a guy who showed up to Coffee Shop Conversations with a chip on his shoulder against prosperity preachers. In his eagerness to make a point he made a distinct error when he stated that Jesus never talked about money. 🙂 Oops! Unfortunately for him, I was forced to respond and the rest is Coffee Shop Conversations history. What happened in Starbucks that day stayed in Starbucks. Apparently, some people still don't realize what Jesus was talking about in several of His most notable parables of The Kingdom. Those talents He referred to aren't singing, painting or tap-dancing. He was talking about money. Nonetheless, that's not what today's blog is about. I digress..

Welcome to today's blog. My inspiration for today's blog came while I was in the middle of an intense road run in the hot sun. I was tired and decided a short cut was well deserved so instead of turning left to descend into a hilly neighborhood I decided to turn right to wrap up the run. As I was approaching the fork in the road, The Lord spoke to me and said; "People who take short cuts or the easy way out never accomplish much." OUCH! Since God decided to call me out like that in the middle of the streets I turned left and embraced the hills. Sorry, I'm no punk! I'm going in, Jesus!

Sometimes playing it safe is not really safe. Jesus explained God's Kingdom using a parable of investment. God gives three investors money and shows up later for His returns. Those who invested His money and brought returns were handsomely rewarded but the one guy who was afraid to take a risk was punished. That's how God's Kingdom works according to Jesus, who happens to also be The Master in the version of The Parable in Matthew 25:14-30. He's gone away and will return to establish His Kingdom on earth one day. On that day He will be evaluating what we've done with everything He's given us. Selah! Pause and think about that!

Risk: possibility of loss or injury... the chance that an investment (as a stock or commodity) will lose value - Merriam Webster Dictionary

Risk is built into the very core of Christianity. You can't be a Christian and not take a risk. Why? You took a risk just to become a Christian. You believed in a God you had not seen based on evidence in a book you could not personally verify. What if all of this is fake and you wasted your life doing something that brings no return in the end? That would be a big loss, wouldn't it? On the flip side, what if it's all real? That would be a big gain.

You take a risk becoming a Christian but you also take a risk by not becoming a Christian. This is where you need proper risk management. What's the bigger loss? Nothing to look forward to after living a life for God on the earth or the freedom to do whatever you feel like on earth but an eternity in hell for not believing in Jesus? If you selected the latter you are correct. We lose very little by accepting Jesus Christ because even on the earth we reap benefits. However, if we don't accept Jesus Christ and discover that eternity is for real, we will lose everything. Onward with the blog...

When Apostle Paul coined the phrase in 2 Corinthians 5:7(KJV); "For we walk by faith, not by sight", he could very well have said; "For we take calculated risks because we trust what God has said." Walking by faith is a lifestyle of calculated risks. Instead of taking the safe, popular route based on what you can see with your eyes you take the path less traveled based on what God says. Sometimes, faith looks like something amazing when God asks you to take a big risk while other times, faith looks pretty simple when God asks you to do something that's not such a big deal. Regardless of the level of commitment it takes, walking by faith is always taking a risk because you're trusting what you cannot see even when it contradicts what you can see. More precisely, you're trusting who you cannot see above everything and everyone you can see.

Matthew 25:14-30(MSG) - “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money. “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’

There are so many valuable lessons in this parable that we need to learn today. First, the master distributed money to His servant according to their ability to manage money. Therefore, the man with the least money to work with was also the man with the least ability to work the money. Was the master right? Absolutely! When He returned, guess which servant did nothing with His money? The one who received the least. Hence, He proved why the master didn't trust Him with anything significant in the first place. Another important lesson is the negative view that the master had on his servant's decision to play it safe. He wasn't just disappointed but He was actually angry. The third lesson comes from the master's decision to take the little from the servant who did nothing with it and give it to the one who made the most money.

If you can't see the parallels between this parable and the reality of life around us you need to open your eyes. First, God doesn't give you more than you can handle according to 1 Corinthians 10:13. That's a good thing when you're talking about temptations, tests and trials but it's not so good when you're talking about money. 🙂 If you can't handle it, don't expect to get it. Second, God expects people to take risks. He frowns upon people who don't. In fact, look at how Apostle Paul addresses this directly in Hebrews 11:6.

Hebrews 11:6(NLT) - And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

God is not pleased if you don't have faith. Faith cannot exist without risk. It was faith that enabled Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water to Jesus in Matthew 14:29. It was faith that enabled the woman with the issue of blood to risk her life just trying to touch the hem of Jesus' garment in Matthew 9:20. It was faith that allowed the centurion to believe his servant would be healed with just a word from Jesus in Matthew 8:8. If you don't have enough faith to take a risk based on a Word from God you can't please God. The servant who didn't take a risk made the master angry. That's not what you want for your life.

The third lesson from the parable in Matthew 25:14-30 can be applied directly to the world around us. The wealth gap continues to increase and will do so until the end of time. The rich will keep getting richer and the poor will keep getting poorer. Even when the economy crashes, the people who hurt the most are the people at the bottom of the financial food chain. So, how do you change your situation if you're the person who got the smallest amount of money to work with according to the parable?

Well, if we only stick with the parable, you can see two easy options. One is to increase your ability. Money management is a learned trait so if you didn't learn much and only received as much as you've learned you need to learn more so God will trust you with more. The second option is to show yourself faithful with the little you have according to Luke 16:10. Take a risk and do something with what God has already given you. Going to work, getting paid, going home and sleeping is not what I'm talking about. Step out and try something different! Learn to invest! Sell something! Find a market for your talent! Give a big offering! Yes, there's a chance you can lose but if you did option one first before option two there's a very good chance you can win.

OK! I admit it. I really was trying to stay away from talking about money especially since Jesus NEVER talked about money. 🙂 However, this is what The Lord gave me so this is what He wants you to hear. By the way, you may be one of those people with a "safe" job at a "safe" place that you're sure will be there for the foreseeable future. As a result, you don't understand what's the big deal with all of this talk about risk taking. Well, the truth is that the only safe job is the one you create. You can't trust in your "safe" job, you can only trust in God. If God's not the one providing for your needs, you never know what you'll wake up to in the morning. Sometimes playing it safe is not really safe. Since faith is simply doing what you believe God has said, stepping out in faith is not just an option. It's a necessity.

Mark 9:23(NKJV) - Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

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May 13, 2014 Posted by admin in Books, Faith

Important Faith Lessons From Noah

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. - Hebrews 11:7 kjv

Noah’s faith caused him to respond when God warned him of impending tragedy. He made a decision to obey the voice of God without having the physical evidence necessary to satisfy his human intelligence. Therefore, by faith, he used the Word of God as the only evidence of the looming flood. Building the ark must have been a major investment for him because of its sheer size. God told him to make it four hundred and fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide and forty-five feet high. Those are staggering numbers for one man, so I assume that his family helped him in some way. The time commitment for such an endeavor is another major factor we should consider.

When inspired for some reason, it’s possible for many Christian people to have a moment of great faith, but it’s entirely different when you have to sustain your faith over an extended period of time. The Apostle Paul said in Hebrews 6:12 that you inherit the promises of God through not just faith but the combination of faith and patience. For this reason, Noah’s sustained faith in the Word of God placed him in line for an inheritance that only God could have provided.

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. - Genesis 6:8–9 kjv

I don’t know how Noah did it. However, I know that he did. I don’t know how you will do it. However, I know that you can. In the middle of a world full of sin and rebellion, you can be just and perfect in your generation. While everyone around you is walking away from the things of God, like Noah, you can walk with God. The advantages of a life spent in fellowship with God cannot be emphasized enough. God warned Noah of the flood because God knew Noah.

They were personal friends and conversed on a regular basis. You cannot have access to the inner workings of God’s wisdom if you don’t have an intimate relationship with him. It’s a fantasy to think that God will even consider you for detailed personal instructions if Christianity is still a religious experience for you. If he only sees you when you show up at church, then he is not in a relationship with you. If he only hears from you when something is wrong then you are not intimate with him. As a result, you will be left out of the loop while the people he knows very well take the inside track to his miraculous goodness.

You may start off in faith, but if something doesn’t happen in your favor quickly and you stop believing in God, your actions will change to match what you believe. Thus, if you give up on your faith, you will fail. It’s not always a lack of faith that stops you from getting what’s yours, but it is a lack of maintenance of your faith. Fortunately, God doesn’t dwell on the past, and neither should you. Ask for forgiveness based on 1 John 1:9 whenever you need it, and continue in faith. The lesson learned from the salvation of Noah is that faith in the Word of God must be sustained over an extended period of time in order to inherit the promises of God.

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Be Faithful...

The Peace of God

THE FRUIT OF FAITHFULNESS

Galatians 5:22-23(NLT) - But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Luke 12:42-45(NKJV) - And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.

The Holy Spirit produces faithfulness. Truly spiritual people are reliable and trustworthy. If they say they are going to do something or be somewhere it's as good as done. By its very nature, the fruit of faithfulness takes some time to develop. The Lord chooses those who are faithful for positions of high leadership and ensure that they are well taken care of. God measures your faithfulness by how consistent you are at doing what He has called you to do.

The people of the world cherish faithfulness. They rather have someone they can rely on with minimal talent than someone they can't rely on with lots of talent. That's because most are conditioned to follow the pathway of comfort at the cost of faithfulness. People find difficulty in committing to anything so as soon as they feel uncomfortable they are ready to quit. That's why faithfulness separates a mature Christian from the people of the world. We must always do what God says until He says stop. Faithfulness brings many great rewards.

Meditate on Matthew 25:14-30, 1 Corinthians 4:2 and Luke 12:41-48

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Don't Limit God!

Don't Limit God!

Psalm 78:41(NKJV) - Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel.

Today is a continuation of yesterday's blog, "Where is your faith?" A few years ago I received a free sticker at a convention with the image posted above. I stuck it at the top of my bedroom mirror so that everyday I would see the simple reminder; "Don't limit God!" In some respects, that statement sounds like an oxymoron. How can a human being put limits on God? Isn't God limitless? On the surface it just doesn't make any sense. Nonetheless, human beings have been limiting God since He created the first one of us in The Garden of Eden. If we could have done it back then we can surely do it now. That's right. The omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God has run into limits over the years and they were not self-imposed. They came from us. So how is that even possible? Here's a simple example.

Mark 6:1-6(NKJV) - Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

Nothing brings the power of God to a screeching halt like unbelief. Jesus had a coming home party that didn't quite turn out the way it was supposed to. After revolutionizing the lives of people in other areas He decided to return to his own country and minister there. With that visit, they would get the opportunity to also benefit from His anointing. However, there was just one minor issue. They didn't believe. They were so familiar with Jesus that they just could not bring themselves to believe in Him. That totally blew Jesus' mind. The Bible says He marveled because of their unbelief. Instantly, Jesus could not do any mighty works there. He was like Superman in the presence of Kryptonite. They had the power to limit God and they used it.

James 1:5-8(NKJV) - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

If you're going to ask God for something you have to ask in faith. Romans 10:19 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by The Word of God. So, asking in faith is asking based on The Word of God that you heard. If something didn't come from God's mouth you can't have faith in it. Thankfully, 2 Timothy 3:16 says that all scripture is God-breathed. So if you need a Word from The Lord upon which to base your faith your first step is to find it in The Bible. Everything in God's Kingdom works by faith. If you don't have faith you can't get anything done. The truth is that you really don't have the ability to stop God's power from existing but unbelief puts a cap on its expression in your life. That's why some people can benefit from the power of God while others don't.

One person can access supernatural healing while another person does not. One person might benefit from supernatural protection while another person does not. Even though God is no respecter of persons He is a respecter of faith. That was demonstrated clearly during the life of Jesus on the earth. When people approached Him in faith for help they received it but when there was no faith He could do nothing to help them. As Apostle James put it, let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from The Lord. If you don't believe, don't expect to receive.

Hebrews 11:6(NKJV) - But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

One of the easiest ways to please God is to believe Him. Outside of that it's impossible to please Him. He doesn't need anything from us but He desires that we believe Him. It really matters to Him. When He talks He wants to know that His words matter to us. The Bible says in Jeremiah 1:12 (NKJV); "Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.” When God says something He backs it up. It's not our job to figure out how He will do what He has said we just have to believe Him. If we do our part He will do His part.

Isaiah 55:10-11(KJV) - For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Have you ever heard someone say something like; "I know that's what The Bible says but that doesn't mean God's really going to do that? Let's be realistic here." Why not? He said He would do it so who says He can't? Why do we allow our lack of faith to cause us to rewrite the scriptures and edit out the parts we struggle to believe? Yes, we agree that God can save us and give us eternal life but why can't He heal us too? Why can't He provide all of our needs? Why can't He answer our other prayers that line up with the scriptures? We don't question that He answers our salvation prayer but what about the others? How can we be so sure about salvation? Where do we get our confidence? The Bible! Aren't all of God's other promises in The Bible also? Why is it easy to believe one promise that's supposed to last for eternity but difficult to believe others that are for our short time on the earth? It's time to take the limits off of God.

Mark 9:23(KJV) - Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Impossible is nothing for someone who believes. Our faith opens the door wide to the supernatural power of God. I've received some wild promises from God that are beyond human explanation and you know what? I BELIEVE! He is God! This universe is nothing but a Word in His mouth. He can do anything. In fact, if He says something, the moment the words leave His mouth it's already done. My faith is the key that opens the portal which acts as a conduit to bring what's been done in the spirit into the natural. I'm not making anything happen with my faith.

God's Word makes things happen. My faith just ensures that I see what's already happened manifest in my life. It works for me and can work for you too. If you can believe, all things are possible for you. Don't worry about how God will do anything He promised. How did He create the universe? Do you know? No you don't but you know He did it. How He does what He does doesn't matter. We just need Him to do it. I'm ready to believe God. Are you? That's all He wants from His people. He's not asking us for much. He just wants us to believe His Word and act on what we believe. Don't limit God! Only believe! He's ready to move so let's get out of His way so He can do what He does best.

Mark 5:36(KJV) - As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
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Where Is Your Faith?

Where Is Your Faith?

Luke 8:25a(KJV) - And he said unto them, Where is your faith?.....

I had an interesting conversation with a good friend of mine. We both come from families with legacies in the ministry. We were trying to figure out what happened over the last few decades as signs and wonders dropped off significantly in The Church. What changed? The Bible still says the same thing now as it did then. The Holy Spirit is the same yesterday, today and forever more. God's Will concerning healing, deliverance, supernatural provision and protection has not changed. So what changed?

Our faith. Our capacity for believing God has decreased drastically in our generation. The kinds of things that our forefathers believed God for were astronomically greater than much of what we currently believe. Many of us can barely trust God to heal a headache so we're a long way from believing God for the miraculous. It's easy for us to read The Bible and believe what God did for other people thousands of years ago. It's also easy for us to read books and believe what God did for people generations ago. However, believing that He'll do the same for us is a whole different thing.

Luke 18:8b(KJV) - .... Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

When Jesus finally returns to earth, is He going to find faith? I surely hope so. Let's be honest here. If He returned right now how much faith is He really going to find? Do we even have the faith to believe that His return is imminent or have we stopped believing that too? Many of us have been so scarred by encounters with worldly individuals who claim to base all of their decisions on logic and physical evidence that we've put our faith aside in an effort to fit in. Maybe that's another aspect of the Identity Crisis I wrote about yesterday. In an effort to fit in with the world we have distanced ourselves from our faith. So what could possibly have happened?

1 Corinthians 13:13(AMP) - And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Apostle Paul outlined faith, hope and love as three abiding characteristics of The Church. When all is said and done these three must be found among us. At the core of our identity as believers are the pillars of faith (our belief in God's Word and the actions which back it up), hope (our expectation that God will do whatever He says) and love. However, of these three, love is the master key, not our human love but God's love for and in us.

Galatians 5:6(KJV) - For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Our faith can only work if God's love is working through us. Apostle John said in 1 John 4:19; "We love him, because he first loved us." If we can't believe in God's love for us, we'll struggle to love Him back and we'll definitely struggle to love each other. Most importantly, if we can't believe in God's love we can't really believe in God's Word because faith works by love. We have to believe that God loves us enough to keep His Word or else we have nothing to base our faith on. Words alone are not enough because we live in a culture where words can have little to no value and that has affected us.

Yes, we know what God said in The Bible and in some cases we know what The Holy Spirit is saying right now but will He really do it in our lives? The answer is yes and the reason is because He loves us. His love is the reason why He will keep His Word. Believe the love and you'll believe The Word. Faith works by God's love so outside of God's love faith won't work. All we'll have is words and nothing to back them up. This brings up an even bigger point.

Daniel 12:4(KJV) - But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

If faith was such a major building block of The Church how have we survived with such a gaping hole in our infrastructure? What have we patched it with? Knowledge! In our generation, knowledge is king. We have so much information that somehow we've been duped into thinking that knowing stuff alone can fill the gap left behind by our lack of faith. I've never heard or read as much revelation as what is available today. We have churches all over the place, Christian television, radio, books, websites, podcasts, streaming video and smartphone apps. If we want knowledge about God we have it. We pride ourselves in how much we know.

Back in The Bible days, the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes were exclusive groups of scholars who lorded over people because of their knowledge. Now The Bible is written in every translation imaginable and there are concordances, commentaries, adaptations and Bible dictionaries available to all of us. Hence, Bible scholars are everywhere. We probably spend more time arguing about doctrine than we do believing God's truth and acting on it.

Are the gifts of the spirit for today? Should we speak in tongues in public? Should worship services be boisterous or mellow? Should a preacher be a preacher-teacher or a teacher-preacher? Should Christians prosper, be broke or find a happy medium somewhere? Should The Church expect to walk in divine health or is sickness part of God's plan for our lives? Does The Bible really take a stand against homosexuality or should we translate the words differently to make it acceptable within The Church? Should we keep The Sabbath? Should we tithe? Should The Church get involved in political and social issues?

These are all valid questions but while we debate them sick Christians have more faith in doctors and pharmacists than they do in Jesus. While we argue over the preaching styles of popular televangelists, many people in our churches are demon possessed and we don't even recognize it. Instead of casting out devils, some of us argue about whether or not these people could be demon possessed in the first place.

How much we know about God means nothing if we can't believe God. How much we know about The Bible means nothing if we can't believe what's in The Bible. How much we know about The Holy Spirit means nothing if we don't know The Holy Spirit. It's 2014. It's time for us to do what we know we can do and should be doing. It's time for us to do what Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7, walk by faith and not by sight. We are Christians. We don't believe what we see, we see what we believe.

Mark 16:15-18(KJV) - And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

The signs don't follow the preaching of the gospel. The signs follow them that believe. Preaching the gospel is not enough. We have to believe it too. Where is your faith?

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Faith Which Results in Promotion

Faith Which Results in Promotion

We just completed a whirlwind trip to Trinidad where we were able to experience new dimensions of God's goodness. Let's first give a big shout-out to Apostles Emanuel and Jemma Duncan of Divine Destiny Worship Centre for providing the platform for us to minister the gospel. Thanks to Sis Michelle and the youth ministry of David's Company for an amazing youth conference. Thanks to Sis Franceine and the Coffee Shop Conversations team for an excellent session. Thanks to the Police Academy for allowing us to address the upcoming graduating class of recruits.

Now Atlanta, it's your turn. Coffee Shop Conversations returns to Starbucks in Midtown this Thursday night and The Body Bible Study returns to Vinings on Saturday. If you want to join us let us know. Nonetheless, today's blog is an excerpt from my latest book, "Faith Science".

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Hebrews 11:32–34 kjv (emphasis mine)

Let’s continue looking at case studies that support our hypothesis: biblical faith is “complete trust in the invisible evidence provided by the Word of God confirmed by commensurate action.” Near the end of the Hall of Faith, the Apostle Paul grouped several men together, including the prophets. He then listed their accomplishments. We’ve looked at each person whose name is mentioned on the list. In an effort to be thorough, let’s look at those men whose accomplishments were mentioned but their names were not. Among the names mentioned, we have studied faith that subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, and obtained promises.

Now let’s deal with the faith of the prophet that stopped the mouths of lions. This speaks of none other than the outstanding faith of the Prophet Daniel. His recorded visions are some of the most detailed concerning the end times, and as history proceeds, they will increase in importance. All the same, before we get too deep in his life, let’s build a foundation first.

Daniel: Faith to Pass the Food Test

Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Daniel 1:3–8 nkjv

The food test is common in God’s kingdom. Adam and Eve failed the food test in the garden of Eden. Jesus passed the food test in the wilderness after a forty-day fast. Let’s take a look at how this one was conducted. Daniel was the chosen of the chosen. After the Babylonians had taken over Judah, he was one of the outstanding young men who were handpicked to serve the king. In contrast to the rest of their people, they were the elite. Not only were they royalty in their own kingdom, but they were placed among royalty in the kingdom that captured them.

Hence, they could easily have developed a sense of complacency toward the things of the Lord. Except for Daniel and his three friends, that’s exactly what happened. Most of them succumbed to the pressure of their new environment. How many of us do the same thing in our own lives? Instead of maintaining the standard of God, we conform ourselves to fit into a certain social circle. We try so hard to be socially acceptable that we gladly do what we know contradicts the Word of God.

It’s that attitude which causes those who are chosen by God to fade into the background. A desire to blend in or stick with the status quo limits the impact of many Christian people. Daniel separated himself by maintaining his faith in God and refusing to compromise his standards. As a result, God chose him out of his peers for a special role in history that spanned several kingdoms and generations. Long before Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den and saw God shut their mouths he was in preparation. Like the lion and bear that David slew before he ever heard of Goliath, Daniel grew with each test. Even though great emphasis should be placed on his victory in the lion’s den, there is much more we can learn from his preparation.

Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.” So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days. And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
Daniel 1:9–16 nkjv

In direct response to Daniel’s decision to maintain his integrity, God gave him favor with his superior. What an important lesson for all of us! One of my favorite pastors has the following saying: “You will lose anything you compromise to keep.” If you are willing to drop your godly standards to gain something he doesn’t want you to have, you will eventually lose what you gained. In contrast, the Scriptures say, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires,” (Psalms 37:4 nlt).

While other young men tried to fit in by doing just what they were ordered, Daniel obeyed God and stood out for all the right reasons. The Bible says, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another,” (Psalm 75:6–7 kjv). It also says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him,” (2 Chronicles 16:9 kjv). God judges based on the content of our hearts, so when it’s time for promotion the people with integrity will rise. Let’s examine the first physical miracle recorded in Daniel’s life.

By the wisdom of God, Daniel and his friends made an offer that could not be refused. Instead of expecting the eunuchs to accept their position based on moral grounds, they chose to put their faith into action for a physical manifestation. Their choice to believe in God’s Word was not based on physical evidence but only on faith. In fact, Jesus said, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed,” ( John 20:29 kjv). On the other hand, when dealing with someone carnal, they understood the need to provide tangible evidence.

We should learn from their example. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
1 Corinthians 2:14 nlt

Sometimes people need to see that God’s way is the best because even though we believe what we cannot see, they don’t. What happened with those young men was nothing short of a miracle. In only ten days, from a biological perspective, a diet of vegetables and water won’t have such dramatic effects on your appearance. Yet, when done in obedience to a word from the Lord, nothing is impossible. The lesson learned from Daniel and his friends passing the food test is that faith in God’s invisible Word can visibly affect your physical body.

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August 7, 2013 Posted by admin in Faith

Building Your Faith Through The Word of God

Building Your Faith Through The Word of God

Mark 11:24 - Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Mark 9:23 - Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Jesus revealed that faith is one of the main building blocks of miracles. In essence, He said that if we can believe something according to the Word of God we can see it happen. Someone who refuses to believe has blocked a miracle from coming to pass. This explains why so many Christians in the Western church have to live without the full manifestation of the power of God. They know so much about everything else that they rather obey their own understanding than “blindly” follow a God whose thoughts are not always easy to grasp.

1 Corinthians 2:13-15 - Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

Romans 10:17 - So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Christians who spend time in the Word of God are developing their faith. This is how we move from the natural to the spiritual. Once we are walking in the Spirit, we will be able to comprehend mysteries that cannot be easily explained outside of the Spirit realm. Consequently, the Word must enter our hearts and not just our minds because Biblical scholarship without a heart of true worship presents another set of serious problems.

It is a complete waste of time to argue for hours with carnal individuals about something in the Word of God. They will never get it. They can only see with their natural eyes and that limitation cannot be removed with Christian logic. In addition, a lack of faith is a reflection of a lack of the Word of God in the Body of Christ. A spiritual awakening based in sound Biblical instruction is the answer to the skepticism in existence concerning the supernatural ability of God.

Hebrews 5:12&13 - For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

It’s interesting that we expect so much out of the Kingdom of God without taking the time to find out how it works. The time that a Christian spends in the Word of God is more important than anything else because that is where Christianity is taught. The basics of Christianity are necessary before we try to accomplish anything advanced. We put the miraculous on hold if we are not fed the Word of God that builds the faith necessary for it to come to pass.

How will I know that God will heal me if I don’t know that He said it in the Bible? How do I know that the angels will protect me if I have no proof from the Word of God? Deductive reasoning is not enough! God does not do what we think He’ll do. He does what He said He’ll do in His Word. Baby Christians are only babies because they are not skillful in the Word of God and not because they are young in the faith. I’ve seen with my own eyes God work wonders in the lives of Christians with no regard for age or experience. Personal study should be complemented by a proper diet of spiritual food from the local church and other reliable sources.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 – I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

The prevalence of itching ears in the Body of Christ is a fulfillment of this prophetic word delivered by Paul. I do have good news, however. Many Christians are getting fed up with the fables because the world is getting tougher and they are frustrated with their own ineffectiveness. I am so excited about the movement of Christians on this earth who have had enough of the parables and have a hunger for the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. This brings up an interesting situation.

What are the preachers supposed to do now? People listen to what we say and that makes us responsible for the accurate delivery of the Word of God. In other words, if God didn’t say something, we don’t need to say it. I like different types of delivery because that is a part of the cultural experience. I don’t mind if a preacher sings while he preaches. I don’t mind if he runs around in circles and makes jokes during his message. Once he states clearly what is contained in the Word of God equipping people with the tools necessary to live outside of the four walls of the church building I am happy.

I have done my share of sleeping in church so I know that an exciting delivery is not a bad thing. However, we should all be disciplined enough to sit, listen and take notes when we are being taught the Word of God. I’ve sat through long lectures as a graduate student so I cannot give the Word of God less attention than I gave to my professors. Whatever avenue we use to receive Biblical instruction is really up to personal preference. I use every one that is available but I am very selective about who I give my time to. If the minister is feeding me the Word of God then I listen because the more my faith is built, the more ability I have to walk in the Spirit. That’s how I set the atmosphere of my life for the miraculous to take place.

Matthew 8:5-13 - And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

The centurion understood how the Kingdom of God operated better than most of the followers of Jesus. He was obviously well informed about the system of faith which defined the life of Jesus. If you would like more proof of what I am saying, look at the life of Jesus. He was always spending time with the Father throughout His life and He demonstrated His aptitude with the scriptures from a very young age. However, He was not an academic like the Pharisees. He let the scriptures build His faith so that He could do the miraculous. In addition, He taught people the Word of God so that they would have the faith that was essential to receive from Him. If you have questions, take some time to read what Jesus said about many of the people who received individual miracles and you would see that the one thing He liked the most was their faith. The centurion was just one example and in Matthew 15:22-28, you can find another. Matthew 15:22-28 - 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.

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