"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?...Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly;" 2 Cor 9:24-26

How Small is a Mustard Seed Anyways?

Posted by Emma on February 25, 2011 | Filed under: Christianity,Faith,World Changer

I’ve been thinking about faith recently. As I was considering this subject, Matthew 17:20 and stood out to me. “He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.’”

While pondering that verse I started wondering about the size of a grain of mustard seed compared to a mountain. A grain of mustard seed is really small. One grain is 1 or 2 millimeters in size. That’s tiny. A mountain, on the other hand, is huge. I took a look at one mountain in Israel, Mount Hermon. Mount Hermon is in the Galilee so Jesus’ disciples would have been familiar with it. Mount Hermon is 1,804 meters higher than the land around it and 2, 814 meters above sea level.

So, how do they compare? For the sake of this exercise we’ll say a mustard seed is 1.5 millimeters. There are 1,000 millimeters in a meter. If you stacked mustard seeds on top of each other starting from the base of Mount Hermon it would take 1,202,666.67 mustard seeds to reach the height of Mount Hermon. If you laid those on a straight line on the ground they would go for 1972.9 yards, which is equivalent to 6.5 football fields. That’s a lot of mustard seeds. Do you get the idea that a mustard seed is very, very, very, very, very, very small compared to a mountain?

A mustard seed is miniscule compared to a mountain, yet it only takes that amount of faith to move mountains. Most of us do not have the faith equal to one mustard seed. Brothers and sisters, we are pathetic. Look at who God is. Look at what Jesus did for us. Look at the power of the Holy Spirit in us. We should have faith to move hundreds of mountains, and yet we struggle to have faith that God will provide us the money to live each day, that He will protect our loved ones, ultimately, we struggle to believe He is in control. The disciples prayed that Jesus would increase their faith. That should be the prayer of every Christian in the world.

One other verse having to do with faith and mountains stood out to me. That verse is Matthew 21:21-22. “And Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Brothers and sisters, I am coming to believe that often our problem is not that we do not have enough faith but that we do not have any faith. Jesus said, “if you have faith and do not doubt,” Doubt and faith cannot coexist. We must have faith in God and not doubt His word, not doubt His power, not doubt anything. A mustard seed is very little, that amount of faith has no extra room for doubt. It does not fit, so throw it out!

Just think what could be done if ten Christians were dedicated to something, if they had faith like a grain of mustard seed, just a tiny bit, but no doubt. Why, they could move ten mountains. Think how that would magnify if one hundred Christians had that must faith or one church. What could one church full of mustard seed Christians, but no doubt, do? How about one town of churches, or one state, or one country? If Christians had this kind of faith, the world would have to stop and stand in awe of God.

But we doubt. We do not have faith. We do not trust God. We are to concerned with the material things of life. Brothers and sisters, this is wrong! God promises to take care of all our needs when we are seeking His kingdom. Why can’t we let Him?

Why can’t we move mountains and make the world stop and stare? Because we doubt and have even less faith than a mustard seed amount.

I would like to challenge you to have mustard seed faith. Stop doubting God, start trusting Him. Stop worrying about the things of this world and start worrying about the things of God and the world to come. Stop watching the world’s entertainment and start spending time with the Master, asking Him to increase your faith.

Brothers and sisters, remember, there is no room for doubt in a mustard seed amount of faith. Go move mountains!

Two Questions

Posted by Emma on February 11, 2011 | Filed under: Christianity,Psalm 119,Studying the Word

“How many are the days of thy servant? When wilt thou execute judgement on them that persecute me?” Psalm 119:84

The psalmist has sounded down and tired in the last few verse, it continues in this verse. The first word in this verse is כמה (camah) which means how. The next word, ימי (yema), means my days. עבדך (avedecha) means thy servant. The word מתי (mata) means when. תעשה (ta’aseh) is a verb meaning do, make, execute. The word ברדפי means persecute or persecution. The final word in this verse is משפט (mishephat) which means judgement.

The psalmist ask two questions in this verse. At some point in our lives, most of us also ask these two questions. The first is how long will I live? How many are my days? When things are rough it is easy to wonder how long is life, how long do I have left. Even though the psalmist is going through some really rough times he does not lose sight of who he is. At the end of his first question are the words “thy servant.” He is God’s servant, no matter how hard things are or how down He is, He is and always will be God’s servant. We should live and know that we are always God’s servant. If that knowledge if constantly with you you should act as the servant of the most high God. In the roughest times, when you wonder how long your life can be remember you are God’s servant.

The second question in this verse is when will you execute judgement on those who are persecuting me? Most of us do not know what real persecution is. We have not been told to deny our faith or go to jail or die. But we can be persecuted in little ways and by individual people. It could be someone you work with, go to school with, live with, your neighbor, or some random person who persecutes you for being a Christian. At these times we do wonder, when is God going to bring judgement on them? God’s timing is not our timing and we must trust His timing to be perfect.

The answers to these questions are not found in this verse, but will get answered in the psalmist’s life. If you stick to God and ever remember that you are God’s servant, when these questions come to your mind, you will find an answer.

A Bottle in Smoke?

Posted by Emma on February 10, 2011 | Filed under: Analogies,Christianity,Psalm 119,Studying the Word

“For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.” Psalm 119:83

This verse starts out with the word כי (cey) which is a conjunction meaning that, for, or when. It would seem to mean for in this verse. The next word, הייתי (hayity), means come to pass, become. The word כנאד (cenod) begins with a כ (caph) which means like or like as. The root of the word means a skin-bottle, or skin. The root of the word בקיטור (bekitor) means thick smoke. The ב (beit) at the beginning means in.

The word חקיך (chukecha) means thy statutes or thy dues. This is something prescribed. These are God’s statutes, the things He wants us doing. לא (lo) means no or not. The final word in this verse is שכחתי (shacachety). The root of which is a verb meaning forget.

Why would the psalmist use the description of a bottle in the smoke to describe himself? From the previous verses we know that the psalmist is tired and down. But why this analogy? What is it about a bottle in the smoke that is bad? The bottles that they had back then were different then the glass or plastic bottles we think of today. As you can pick up from the actually meaning of the word translated bottle, they were made of skin. Adam Clarke comments in his commentary that, “one of these hung in the smoke must soon be parched and shriveled up. This represents the exhausted state of his body and mind by long bodily affliction and mental distress.” The psalmist felt like he was parched and shriveling up. Often times when we are going through trials and tribulations we can feel like we are parched and almost gone. At those times describe yourself as a bottle in smoke.

Even thorough all of this, the psalmist did not forget God’s statutes. He still remembered God’s word and did it. That takes faith. It is hard to keep obeying God and seeking Him when He seems far away and we are tired and feel drained, but we must keep seeking Him. He is a reward of those who diligently seek Him. He promises that in Hebrews 11:6. No matter how hard your trial is, no matter how tired you feel, no matter how much like a bottle in smoke you have become, keep seeking God. Do not forget His statutes. Do not forget His word. Do not forget Him. He will show Himself strong at the end.

When will God Comfort Me?

Posted by Emma on February 9, 2011 | Filed under: Christianity,Psalm 119,Studying the Word

“Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying when wilt thou comfort me?” Psalm 119:82

As we enter this section of the Psalm, we start seeing more sorrow and despair in the psalmist. Up until now, for the most part, he has held onto the promises of God and sounded secure in them. This verse and the ones following it seem to have a slightly different tone.

The first word in this verse is כלו (calu). It is the same word that started off verse 81. This verb means at an end, spent, waste away, be exhausted, fail. It is reaching the end and having just about nothing left. The next word is עיני (yeena) which means eye. The psalmist is saying that his eyes are failing or wasting away.

The root of the word לאמרתך (le’imeratecha) means utterance, speech, word. This is especially talking about God’s word, his commands and promises as found in the Bible. The ל (lamed) at the beginning of the word means for.

The word לאמר (leemor) is a verb meaning utter or say. This is followed by מתי (mata) which means when. The final word in this verse is תנחמני (tenachamany). It is a verb meaning comfort or console.

The Psalmist’s eyes are failing for God’s words and His promises. As they waste away, they are asking when God will comfort him. It seems the psalmist’s eyes have been looking to God’s word and His promises and now they are exhausted. They are asking when they will see the promises in God’s word fulfilled and be comforted.

Often times we feel the same way. When you go through difficult times you look to God’s word for comfort, you cling to His promises, but bit by bit you get tired as the pressures and trials keep coming at you. You start wondering will you see those promises fulfilled and start asking when will God comfort me? I know I have gone through this at times. When there seems to be no relief you start wondering when will you see God’s promises, when will He comfort me? Sometimes our faith wanes and we wonder if He will comfort us.

The psalmist still has faith in God. He is not asking will you comfort me? He is saying, when will you comfort me? He knows God is still in control and that God will be true to His promises and God will comfort His children. God is in control. We must never forget that. God does comfort His children, it is just not always in our time. Sometimes God wants to refine us like gold before comforting us.

When you are going through hard times, do not despair and say will you comfort me? Ask, when will you comfort me. God is faithful. To quote someone I know, “God is good and God is sovereign. If God is good then it is going to be okay.”  I know God is good. I know God is sovereign. And I know that if God is good and He is sovereign it is going to be okay. Trust that and ask God when He will comfort you,  because if you keep true to Him, He will comfort you in His timing.

Hope in the Word

Posted by Emma on February 8, 2011 | Filed under: Christianity,Psalm 119,Studying the Word

“My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.” Psalm 119:81

This verse begins the eleventh section of this Psalm. All the verse in this section will begin with the letter כ (caph).

The first word in this verse is כלתה (caletah) which is a verb meaning at an end, spent, accomplished. In this verse it carries a sense of wasting away, being exhausted. It is having done all and being at the end, worn out.

The next word is לתשועתך (litesu’atecha). The ל (lamend) at the beginning is the preposition for. The main word is a noun meaning deliverance, salvation. Here it is talking about salvation, spiritual salvation. This is God’s salvation that we are discussing.

The word נפשי (naphesee) means soul, life, a person. It is translated into English as soul in a lot of places but as life in some. Your soul is your life, you die when your soul leaves your body. Our bodies are mortal, are souls will be immortal. They will live on, either with God or in torment away from God. The psalmist wanted to be with God.

The nest word לדברך (lidevarecha) is a noun meaning thy word. This is God’s word. His divine communication to us, found throughout the Bible. Again, the ל (lamend) at the beginning of this word means for.

The final word in this verse is the verb יחלתי (yichalety) which means wait for or hope for. The different translations I have looked at all translate this word as hope in this verse.

The psalmist is exhausted, spent, for God’s salvation. His soul is tired, and he wants that salvation that God offers. But he knows where to find rest for his soul. He hopes for God’s word. God’s word can give us rest and bring salvation from many things.

Although, I think the psalmist is talking about God’s word literally here, I do not think it is far fetched to see the Messianic meaning to this verse. Jesus is called the Word in John. Jesus is the living word of God. He is the one who gives us salvation. We hope in Him for our salvation. When our souls are exhausted, Jesus, the living Word, can bring us salvation and restore our souls. We must trust in Him.

We also should hope in the written word of God, the Bible. There is much comfort to be found in that book. I know it has often comforted and given rest to my soul when it was tired, spent seeking God for salvation from a little problem. God gives us rest through the living Word and His written word. Hope in God’s word. Hope in God’s promises. Hope in Jesus.

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