Did Jesus really call a woman a dog?!

Why Jesus called a woman a dog in Matthew 15
In Matthew 15:21-28, a woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter and He says, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”(1)

This sounds a bit harsh until we remember:

1. God’s is 100% loving.
Nothing He does is unjust or unkind (1 John 4:8).

2. God is omniscient.
Jesus knew everything about this woman (Hebrews 4:13). He chose His words to test her faith, and she proved her perseverance (James 1:3).

3. Timing is part of God's purposes.
Christ's priority was preparing the Jews so they could take the Gospel to the Gentiles (Matthew 15:24; Galatians 3:8).(2)

4. Jesus rewards faith wherever it's found.
Despite His first priority to the Jews, on more than one occasion He rewarded the faith of Gentiles, and He healed this woman’s daughter!
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(1) The word Christ used can be translated "little dog" or "house pet," so it wasn't a cruel term, but that alone doesn't explain this passage. Jesus still compared her to a dog and the Jews to children. Testing sometimes requires this confusing and mysterious element. See "I Didn't Know I Had it in Me."
(2) In His Great Commission Christ launched God's mission to the whole world - Matthew 28:18-20.
Why Jesus called a woman a dog in Matthew 15

Get Out of Yourself!

Get Our of Yourself! Philippians 2:3-4
We cannot fully understand the difficulties of others unless we experience those same difficulties ourselves. But kindness involves trying to understand and giving others the benefit of the doubt.

George Washington Carver, American inventor and educator who was born a slave, put it this way: “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”(1)

The young may envy the free time of retired people; retired people may envy the health and energy of the young. It’s easy to see things from our perspective, but much harder to see things from others' perspectives.

If you’re having difficulties with someone, ask God if there's something lacking in your perspective.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4
(1) Site: About.com
 Copyright 2012, Gail Burton Purath
These 1-minute devotions are about George Washington Carver: Carver Overcame Evil, 300 Uses for the Peanut
Get Our of Yourself! Philippians 2:3-4

Rejoice! The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength!

Why the Joy of the Lord is Our Strength - Nehemiah 8:1-11
The Jewish people returned to Jerusalem after 70 years of Persian exile. When Ezra read the law to them (Nehemiah 8:1-11), it was the first time many had heard it. 

Realizing they fell short of God’s desires, they begin to weep. And Nehemiah said: “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” 

We often hear the phrase “the joy of the Lord is your strength!” 

But knowing the background brings even more joy. 

Can you imagine hearing God-breathed truth for the first time? 

I can. That’s what happened when I gave my life to Christ. 

I’d heard many of these Bible truths before, but they came to life when I followed Christ.
They brought tears of sorrow, knowing I fell short (Romans 3:23), and tears of joy, knowing I was forgiven and now had God’s Spirit to change and restore my heart (Romans 10:10; Philippians 2:13). 


Do you remember? 

Take a moment today to thank God for the Joy you experience in Him. The joy of the Lord is your strength!

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Check out Bible Love Note's archive of 1-minute devotions on Joy and Laughter and bookmark it so you can read several whenever you need a boost of joy in the Lord. And check out today's Bite Size Bible Study for a short, joyful study on this devotion!
Why the Joy of the Lord is Our Strength - Nehemiah 8:1-11

Christ Saves, Comforts, and Offends

Christ Saves, Comforts, and Offends - John 15:18
I hate to hear of people doing rude, mean-spirited, self-righteous things while calling themselves Christians.

It’s not a fair representation of Christ and gives genuine believers a bad name.(1)

But I’m also concerned about a contrasting error.

It’s the belief that if we accurately represent Christ, we won’t offend anyone.

This belief has led many Christians to accept things which Christ didn’t accept and remain silent about things which Christ clearly and unashamedly rebuked.

If we are being light and salt, we’ll be sharing God’s love, comfort, and joy. But it’s impossible to share those things accurately without explaining that we are sinners in need of a Savior.(2) 

If we love Christ, we’ll follow where He leads, even when it makes us unpopular.(3) We'll surely experience rejection, but we'll also experience great joy when people listen and receive Christ!
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(1) Colossians 4:6: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” This passage shows that while our conversation should be "seasoned" with the salt of truth, we should present that truth graciously, not rudely.
(2) Matthew 5:13-16 tells us to be salt and light in our world. We do this by living and teaching the Gospel. Because addressing sin is central to the Gospel, this will make us unpopular. Please read “Why Following Christ Will Never Make Us Popular” for multiple Scriptures about this subject. See also Mark 9:50
(3)  Luke 21:17: "Everyone will hate you because of me." John 15:18-19: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."
Christ Saves, Comforts, and Offends - John 15:18

11 Elements of Faith from Hebrews 11

11 Elements of Faith  from Hebrews 11
Hebrews 11 gives us a wonderful look at faith - its substance, actions, and results. 

1. It’s trusting what we don’t see. 11:1-2: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.”

2. It’s believing in intentional beauty in a culture that believes in accidental beauty (11:3-4). See Only a Fool

3. It’s giving God our best (11:4). See We Make Time For Important Things

4. It’s believing God sees what we do and rewards us if we seek Him (11:6).

5. It’s obeying God's commands even when they don't make sense at the moment (11:7).(1)

6. It’s believing in the future promises (11:8-13). 

7. It's living counterculture (11:14-16). 

8. It’s growing from testing and trials (11:17-19). See 6 Things Suffering Taught Me.

9. It’s believing God can give us a future in spite of our past (11:31). 

10. It’s about earthly victories, healing, and rewards (11:32-35).

11. It’s about hardship, suffering, and sometimes paying the ultimate earthly price (11:35-40). See God Uses Bad People.

Take time to ponder some of these wonderful elements of Christian faith!
(1) Noah built an ark on dry land and loaded it with animals - not something that makes sense apart from faith in God's commands. In addition, some scholars believe (because of Genesis 2:6) that it had never rained on earth before the flood, so Noah may never have seen rain.
11 Elements of Faith  from Hebrews 11

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