Neither were they thankful

Today’s title comes from Romans 1. These are only a few of the thoughts that have run through my mind. It all came back around to July 4th for me.

God bless your celebration of today’s Independence Day, July 4th

It all started because yesterday a friend asked a question about why the hearts of the disciples were hardened after the miracle of the loaves in Mark 6. For those who don’t know the story, she was speaking of the first event where Jesus fed the hungry multitudes of a crowd of about 5000. He did this by miraculously multiplying 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. There was enough to feed all that were there (besides the 5000 men, there were women and children). But there was also enough fragments leftover to gather to make 12 leftover baskets. I love it when people ask me questions, but often we might give them the answer without first giving them the tools to find it for themselves. Teach a man to fish…Along the way we’ll be reminded how to fish 🙂

An aside: People say sometimes that they like the way I write. (Others have said I have an odd way of writing and don’t quite like the way I ‘speak backwards’.) Either way, I have told them as I tell the reader now, it is not natural for me to put my thoughts together on paper, (or at least it does not seem to be). I often have long run-on sentences, and (have been told J ) that I can ramble. But maybe it’s good that it doesn’t come easily, because we’re discussing God’s Word. I need to take it seriously if I’m going to share or teach any others, by adding any thoughts of my own. And whoever reads needs to definitely also do their own due diligence (Acts 17:11), because God’s Word is powerful (Heb 4:12) and we shouldn’t take it lightly (Is 66:2).  

Today’s thoughts are not necessarily teaching, so please search for yourself in His Word. The question my friend asked made my head swirl with ponderings and questions (as often happens to me — delightfully so). Because that makes me go dig again in His Word for answers which is a blessing.

Whatever is written in His Word is important. It’s there for a reason I truly believe. Maybe it is a record of what happened — we know God’s Word is always truth (John 17:17). Or maybe it is an account of what someone said that isn’t true (as I was reminded today by a friend of the two differing accounts of King Saul’s death in the Bible — the armor-bearer’s and the Amalekite’s story). It may be recorded words someone said that is not considered right by God (said of Job’s friends in Job 42).

Maybe we just don’t see a specific thing immediately explained as we sometimes do with the parables. But these things should make us rejoice to dig deeper into the great treasure that God’s Word is (Ps 119:162). To find the answers we can cross reference, or we can read other parallel accounts, or even previous prophecy or foreshadowing like there was with Elisha and the multiplying of the barley loaves in 2 Kings 4. We can also ask for the multitude of counsel with others we trust.

What does this have to do with July 4th?

WHY were the disciples hearts hardened?

Depending on which translation you use (hopefully a literal one), they hadn’t understood about the loaves, they hadn’t gained any insight, or they hadn’t considered the miracle.

Their hearts were dull, or calloused (the Strong’s definition). This is the part that really made me think. My heart is hardened daily in this world we live in and in my own sinful flesh. We complain, or we deal poorly with hardships (or not). But sometimes the storms come and our faith instantly wavers. We get some resistance and we don’t typically say immediately to ourselves, ‘Hey, we belong to the God who has done all these miracles, everything is going to be o.k. in the long run’. Instead sadly we may often instantly revert to the flesh. Allowing fear to dwell in us, or not placing our faith in Him (and give it back to Him when we waver).

We look back on what God has done and we’d like to think if only WE had seen these previous miracles, WE wouldn’t have forgotten or been calloused to it. (Come on, admit it, you’ve done that too with the Israelites. You’ve said, I wouldn’t have been like them wandering around a small area of desert for 40 years after seeing the ten plagues. I wouldn’t have grumbled about the manna after the pillar of fire and the cloud at night, and Him parted the Red Sea, destroyed the pursing enemy in it — Not Me…). Knowing our weakness, we STILL tend to think that WE would have remembered Jesus turned water into wine, healed a dying man’s son and drove out demonic spirits. WE wouldn’t have just so quickly forgotten Him healing Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever, or all those loads of sick people. How could WE be like them?

Paralytics walking, lepers healed (unheard of except once — Naaman), and even dead children brought to life. Fishermen seeing miraculous catches of fish and storms instantly calmed on the sea, NO WAY we would forget. Wouldn’t we remember to give thanks to our God? (I need to stop here and say, “I’m sorry Lord. How often I forget to be thankful for the daily blessings of life here in the U.S., but what about what you have done for me?”.

Still can you imagine having already seen all those things, plus a legion of demons fleeing into a herd of pigs? Or the woman healed after 12 years of nonstop bleeding? A widow’s son and Jairus’ daughter brought back to life? Or the blind men made to see, or the mute being able to speak? Or another man who couldn’t walk, sitting by the pool on his mat, hoping upon hope that he would be healed — and just a word from Jesus and he walks? Surely WE wouldn’t have feared another storm once we had seen all that?

But no, we are just like them. They ate, and they were all satisfied. They saw many previous miracles. All were on that boat after the multiplying of the fishes and loaves, so surely they would have remembered and not been afraid? Surely we wouldn’t have been afraid after seeing all that, and having just seen Him feed the multitudes?

Yet give us some headwinds, and maybe throw in the typical storms that will come in this life (Ps 107:25-32) and we’re forgetting what all the miraculous things He has done. Or maybe we might even have a fantastic miracle happen before our very eyes (like seeing Jesus walk on water), and we don’t see it for what it is, having forgotten what He’s done in our lives.

But again, He calms the wind and delivers us out of our troubles as He did the disciples who hadn’t understood or considered the previous miracle. They were ‘greatly amazed beyond measure and marveled’ Why? I can only gather from what I read it was because they hadn’t considered, remembered, understood what Jesus had done previously. (Or at least that is my take on it).

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What does this have to do with Independence Day?

Often in life, we do the very same thing over and over. We forget what He’s done sometimes. We’ve been set free from the penalty of sin and death because of His work alone on the cross. All of our sins, past, present and future have been nailed to His cross, forgiven (Col 2:13-15). Because of it, believers have been given everlasting life, and we will never perish (John 3:14-17; John 5:24; John 6:37-40; John 10:28-29). We don’t have to fear again about what will happen when we die (Heb 9:27). Hopefully because of what He has done, and what He is still doing, Christians are learning to be thankful. Prayerfully our faith is growing strong as we continue in His Word (Rom 10:17; 2 Tim 3:14-17).

But God knows our frame, and remembers that we are ‘but dust’ and so He has compassion on us and still helps us even when we don’t remember what He’s previously done in removing our sins as far as the East is from the West (Ps 103:12-14).

So what does this have to do with July 4th?

In this nation, we have a bunch of ungrateful and ungodly people who defy God. You can see a group of complainers wherever you go, yes everywhere (don’t start defending your political persuasion, you will answer to God for every ungodly choice, and every idle word which I don’t want to contribute to).

Many people who do know God in the United States may have forgotten to be thankful. Or maybe they are one of those who do not glorify God as God. If you have not believed on Him, His wrath is still upon you (John 3:36). And there will be no excuse. He says you suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Because He has made Himself known to you, He has shown it to you. He says that since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made (that is you). Even His eternal power and Godhead are understood, so He says if you have not believed on Him you are without excuse. He says those who do not believe know God but do not glorify Him as God, nor are they thankful. Their thoughts are futile and their foolish hearts darkened. And although they profess themselves to be wise, they become fools. Are you possibly who He is speaking of?

Or they change the glory of the INCORRUPTIBLE God into an image made like a corruptible man or birds or animals and creeping things. Romans 1 continues to say because of this, or THEREFORE, God gave them up to uncleanness (or the lusts of their heart). Do we not see this today by the sinful and vile passions of many who are filled with all unrighteousness and sexual immorality? So much wickedness, deceit, evil minds conjuring up things we don’t even want to hear about.

Friends, you may or may not believe the Bible but He says you who not only practice these things, but those who approve of them are worthy of death (Romans 1:18-32). This is not good for He is speaking of eternal death and torment (whether you like it, consider it unfair, or don’t believe it, it will happen).

Many others in this country profess to know God, but are still trusting in their own works to save them vs. His work for them on the cross (Rom 10:3-4; 1 Cor 15:3-4). Those same people (some calling themselves Christians) justify themselves by their own wonderful works (Matt 7:15-23). He will say He never knew them. The Bible calls them the ungodly who boast in themselves (Ps 94:4; Matt 7:22; Eph 2:8-9).

Do you think that you are good, or that you have turned from enough sin, or have even stopped sinning? Even if you stopped (by the way, you haven’t, ask your wife), you have already sinned. So by His standards, you’re guilty and condemned to death (Rom 3:23; Rom 6:23; Rom 21:27). There is still hope for you.

Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord

The Bible says blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord. Yet we have a nation now whose God is either Baphomet, or Islam’s Allah, or a created being like an angel. Maybe they are their own ‘divine being’ or an atheist or agnostic who rejects that there is a Creator. Maybe they are one who worship one of the many false gods made from men’s hands of gold, silver or stone. Or something they carved from a tree, and they bow to it or pray to it. These are worthless to them, as God is not a God made by men’s hands. The one and only God of the Bible, is the Creator of heaven, earth, and everything in it. He doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands, and doesn’t need anything from us, since He is the One who gives all people life and breath and all things. He made us from one blood, to dwell upon the face of the earth. He even determined where and when we would live, even the boundaries of where that would be. And it was done in great love, in the hope that WE (all mankind) should seek the Lord, grope for Him, FIND Him. He is not far from each person. But God has made Himself known through His Son Jesus. And there is coming a day where He will judge the world in righteousness by Him who He has chosen, and proven who Jesus is by raising Him from the dead.

Jesus died on the cross for every single person’s sin. Yes, your sin needs forgiven because the penalty for it is eternal death in a place called hell. All sin is against God, and a just God cannot and will not overlook even a lie. We cannot be perfect, only Jesus Christ was. And He performed a miracle by giving Himself in our place, a perfect life for a ruined one. And by the resurrection, taking His life back up again as He said He would (John 10:17-18). He proved He was God by doing this and showed He had the power over sin, death and the grave (1 Cor 15:50-58).

Jesus asks you to do one thing to be saved eternally. To believe upon Him as your Savior. Not by any works of your own (Eph 2:8-9). You cannot earn it, you must believe in what He has done alone. Believe what He said, remember what He has done, and be thankful.

Please if you’ve read this, be thankful for the many blessings you have been given living in this Nation (maybe not great anymore). We still have time to use what we have for good. Speak the truth in love. Pray for all men. Stop complaining, be thankful.

And I do pray that God will bless America (stop telling me I should not pray for the boundaries He set me in). And I also pray for all men as He asks me too (1 Tim 2:1-6).

Thank you for coming to visit, happy July 4th to those who are blessed to live here.

2 Responses to “Neither were they thankful

  • Thank you Holly! I needed that reminder to be thankful for what He has done in my life, saving me from the penalty of sin, having trusted him as my Savior, and what He does daily in my life.
    Thank you for your transparency also. That is encouraging to me also. I am so easily dragged down by the pull of this world and my flesh. I know He lives in me and He wants me to live the Christian life the same way I was saved, by faith, but I so often look to my own life and my short comings and failures and want to throw up my hands in despair ( how is that for rambling). Your writing reminds me to be thankful for what He has done and continues to do.

    • JohnWi – thank you for your kind words. Glad it was encouraging. I think it’s a pattern for us, wanting to throw our hands up in despair, especially back in the days of loadship. It’s easier if we choose more of being like Mary. Hearing His Word. His Word washes us and that’s how the Lord uses it in our lives (Eph 5:26-27) and I think also of the picture of Jesus cleaning our feet in John 13. Of course, taking heed to His Word is very important too, along with hiding it in our hearts to help keep us from sinning against Him (Ps 119:9-11).

      All I know is I do better when I stick closer to His Word, and trying to acknowledge Him in more of my ways. The Word has a way of providing that light, and it will help us with the diffult areas we all have (if we admit them). Just admitting our failures to Him makes it easier along with others so they can be in prayer for us to keep enduring to abide in the Vine and in His Word. I figure I’d like an abundant entrance into heaven (2 Pet 1:5-11), but the answer again seems to be adding to my faith by knowledge of the Lord and His Word, which begins to clean us up.

      I relate very much to Paul’s lament in Romans 7. Praise the Lord we are kept by His power, and will be delivered from this body soon.
      In Christ!

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