What’s the Use Anyway?

Dear Friends;

May God the Father, and Jesus our Lord be blessed, and may the Lord sanctify you and give you a heart to understand His Will.

Yes, what’s the use of serving God? What’s the use of enduring suffering and injustice for His name, while others seem to have it easy. While others, who do not fear Him, actually prosper?

There is nothing new under the sun, and neither are these questions. Look at what the Jews used to say in the times of Malachi.

Malachi 3:14,15 – “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping his requirements and walking mournfully before the Lord of Armies? 15 So now we consider the arrogant to be fortunate. Not only do those who commit wickedness prosper, they even test God and escape.”

Do not fall into that sin. It is a death trap! While many of the Jews were speaking and thinking that way, a few did the opposite…

Malachi 3:16At that time those who feared the Lord spoke to one another.

And God took notice

Malachi 3:16The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the Lord and had high regard for his name.

Friends; think very carefully about what you are thinking and harboring in your heart. The Lord may seem quiet at times, but He takes notice and listens.

Malachi 3:17 “They will be mine,” says the Lord of Armies, “my own possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.

In His Name. AMEN.

When Faith Erupts

My friends;

May the grace and peace of our God be with you. In this letter I would like to share some examples where faith manifested itself in spectacular fashion. Faith can and does erupt, for it is the all-conquering power that our Lord Jesus gave us. Faith is power from Jesus! Consider what the Apostle John says about it…

1 John 5:4For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

If you are God’s child, whether you realize it or not, allow me to bring to your remembrance that you have a power within , THE power to live a life of one who conquers, one who wins!

But how does the winning faith looks like? How do you expect those around you reacting to it? Will they be amazed? or perplexed? Will they applaud you or laugh at you? Below, I am revisiting some scenarios, most of which you are probably familiar with, with the hope that you will be desirous to see the explosive power of your own faith, the faith that Jesus gave you.

When Faith erupts…you can actually hear it…and it roars!  

Yes, you can hear faith! And when it erupts like a volcano, Jesus Himself marvels, for its mighty roaring resonates in one accord with His Own Spirit.

Luke 7:9 When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned about and said unto the people who followed Him, “I say unto you, I have not found so great a faith, no, not in Israel.”

Jesus was amazed at the faith He had just heard…faith, in full strength had just spoken! The man in question was a Centurion, whose servant was dying. Jesus was already going to his place to heal the servant, but the Centurion sent him the following words…his faith erupted!

Luke 7:6Lord, trouble not Thyself, for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof…But say the word, and my servant shall be healed.

When Faith erupts…you can smell it…and Oh the fragrance!

Yes, you can smell faith in its full strength…and what a fragrance it has! A woman, a sinner, comes to Jesus, lays at His feet…and began to wipe them…with her own hair…tears…and an expensive fragrance!

Luke 7:37,38And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

Luke 7:50And he [Jesus] said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Jesus could see, feel and smell that faith…and it was of a sweet odor…the faith of that poor sinner!

When Faith erupts…you can feel it!

Luke 8:43-45And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me?

Though Jesus was surrounded by a multitude, pressed and touched on every side…when FAITH touched Him…He could not resist! He HAD to acknowledge it…WHO TOUCHED ME?

Luke 8:48And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

My friends, when faith erupts in its strength…when faith rises from its shadows, when that time comes…our LORD JESUS can’t help Himself but stop and take notice…for it is HIS OWN POWER he sees and feels! Faith can be felt!

When Faith erupts…you can see it!

Mark 12:41-43And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury.

The poor widow…her faith erupted on the surface, the power that overcomes the world…the power to overcome her human instinct to save her life by keeping these last two cents to feed herself. It was a sight for Jesus to behold…He had to comment…HE HAD TO! The power of faith was evidenced! Faith had come on the surface.

You will notice from these few popular examples, that when Faith erupts, it may appear even as a bizarre thing to the untrained eye…who will dare ask Jesus not to come to their own house because they are not worthy, and instead simply ask Him to “say the word” from where He is? What madness is it to lower yourself so much as to wipe someone else’s feet with your own tears and hair? What silliness to believe that touching someone’s garment will heal you of a disease you could not be cured from? And how is giving away your last cent a sound act?

BUT the trained eye will recognize that that is FAITH…erupting like a volcano! The power of God that overcomes the world, in manifestation. 

When FAITH erupts my friends…JESUS Himself notices! The martyrs of old times, who died for their faith, looked like poor fools to those who killed them, because they could not see that it was actually their Faith roaring in full strength, overcoming everything the world could possibly throw at them. The Lord has given you faith my dear friend…I exhort you to grow in it and let it erupt, to the glory and joy of Your master above. 

In His name!

Amen.

Really, a faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain? That’s what Matthew 17:20 seems to say! (Part 7 of 7)

Peak-Of-The-Matterhorn-MountainWe have an invitation from God

The truth probably is…your faith is larger than a mustard seed, Thank Goodness! No matter where, your diligence to follow God has not been in vain…but God is also inviting you to continue in your growth!

Matthew 17:20 (NIV) – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

In this series we argue that the answer to the question in the title of this article is NO! You may click here to read Part 6.

This series provided some arguments as to why Matthew 17:20 makes reference to the magnificent faith the mustard seed has, rather than to its smallish size. To move a mountain, one must have a strong faith, and God says it plainly. That kind of faith is completely devoid of doubt. The words small, or size (depending on the Bible translation) were added in the NIV and NASB versions of the Bible respectively. And it was argued in this series that these additions cause Jesus-Christ to contradict Himself right there in this verse, as well as elsewhere in His other teachings. The teachings from the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians confirms that moving mountains requires the greatest of faith, not the smallest. Many examples in the Bible – among whom Abraham’s belief for a son – clearly speak of people who had strong faith. These examples certainly sound like that the faith these men and women displayed were larger than a mustard seed. It was then argued that the implication of this erroneous teaching could be devastating.

The fact is that God does invite us to build a faith that is whole, complete, a completely free of doubt! The very fact that some can pray and believe today without a doubt for some situations is proof that those individuals have at least some faith. Also, today some are able to believe without a doubt for bigger things than the they did in the previous year. This is indication that their faith has grown! Our faith grows after each victory, and our faith grows when we spend time with God, because by doing such we get acquainted to His will and His abilities.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 – We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

God is encouraging us to continue building our faith, by telling us what kind of miraculous feat we can achieve with it! Let’s strive to believe what God says, and nothing but what He says. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, so let’s ask God to tell us where we can hear His Word. He will answer us!

Your faith is larger than a mustard seed. But believe God to bring your faith to much greater heights, so that you can remove mountains!

Really, a faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain? That’s what Matthew 17:20 seems to say! (Part 6 of 7)

mountain_peak_at_sunset-wideMatthew 17:20 (NIV) – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

In this series we argue that the answer to the question in the title of this article is NO! You may click here to read the fifth argument.

The takeaway:  Jesus-Christ’s statement in Matthew 17:20 is about how powerful we can be, not how weak we are!

Adding either of the two words, small or size to Jesus-Christ’s statement in Matthew 17:20, completely falsifies the Word of God. It does so by shifting our attention away from the kind of faith the mustard seed possesses, and placing it instead on the size of the mustard seed. By shifting our attention to the size of the mustard seed, Jesus-Christ is made to say that all we need in life to overcome even the biggest of challenges is nothing but the smallest of faith.  What a LIE! How many lives has this lie destroyed? Every day, many people face challenges they are unable to overcome. Yet they pray, and continue to pray! They give and continue to give. They attend church and speak to their pastors. But what they are being told instead is that they do not even have the smallest of faith, because if they did, the challenge would have already vanished away. How discouraging must it be to live with the thought that despite your best effort to please God, in His eyes, you are still faithless! Is that the God we know and love?

The TRUTH is that Jesus-Christ is teaching us about what we can achieve when we do not pay attention to the circumstances, and when we do not pay attention to our “apparent” shortcomings. The mustard seed may be small, but the mustard seed does not let its size dictate what it will achieve. The mustard seed has learned to believe without doubting, and as a result is able to achieve the unimaginable. Only with such kind of faith can the mustard seed develop into something as a great as a mustard tree. Jesus-Christ is telling us “Look, learn to trust in me. Do not let your “apparent” weaknesses fool you. With me, you can achieve the greatest of things, but you have to believe!” Look at Abraham:

Romans 4: 19-21 – And being not weak in faith, he [Abraham] considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

How can one describe a faith that is a small as mustard seed strong? That kind of faith is weak! Abraham was not weak in faith. Abraham had to be strong in faith, fully persuaded. Abraham was not worried even though he was already an hundred years old. Abraham had learned to trust God. That is the kind of faith Abraham had to build to see the promise come to pass in his life.

God is not here to condemn us, telling us that our faith is even smaller than a mustard seed. No, He is here to encourage us, telling us how far we can go. Now, that is motivation to grow our faith!

Really, a faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain? That’s what Matthew 17:20 seems to say! (Part 5 of 7)

500px-HIGHROCKMatthew 17:20 (NIV) – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

In this series we argue that the answer to the question in the title of this article is NO! You may click here to read the fourth argument.

Argument 5: The faith which removes mountains is described as “all faith by the Apostle Paul

Another argument can be made from one of the teachings of the Apostle Paul, where he describes the kind of faith that is required to remove mountains:

1 Corinthians 13:2 – And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

The Apostle Paul describes this kind of faith as all faith, or faith in its whole, complete form. Bringing together Jesus-Christ’s statement in Mark, and Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians, we see that the kind of faith required to move mountains, is devoid of doubt and is complete! This is quite different from a faith that is as small as a grain of mustard seed which – in contrast – would be riddled with doubt, and would certainly be incomplete!

Let’s face it. The reality is that moving a mountain is great, challenging feat. And rightfully so, it requires a sizeable amount of faith. It simply goes again logic to believe that the tiniest of faith (which, frankly is probably not too hard to have) is sufficient to overcome the biggest of challenges. To represent such faith as small as the size of a mustard seed is to twist the truth, and we believe, grossly misleading!

There truly is a great message Christ is giving us here, but it is certainly not the one that some of the bible translations such as the NIV and NASB are implying.  All that was needed to change the meaning of Matthew 17:20 was adding a little, seemingly innocent – and dare we say…appealing – word (small or size). As will be argued in the concluding parts of this series, this is a case of private interpretation gone seriously wrong.  


Really, a faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain? That’s what Matthew 17:20 seems to say! (Part 4 of 7)

Peak-Of-The-Matterhorn-MountainMatthew 17:20 (NIV) – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

In this series we argue that the answer to the question in the title of this article is NO! You may click here to read the third argument.

Argument 4: This is what Jesus-Christ taught: the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds, but has the greatest of faith!

There are three other places where Jesus-Christ uses the mustard seed to illustrate a point. There, He uses it to describe the kingdom of heaven. Those references give us a clear understanding as to why the mustard seed is such a great example of the power of faith.

Matthew 13: 31, 32 (KJV) – Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Mark 4: 30-32 (KJV) – And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

Luke 13: 18-20 (KJV) – Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it…

These three records shed lights on what Jesus-Christ is bringing our attention to whenever He speaks of the mustard seed: The mustard seed, despite being the smallest of all seeds turns into the greatest of herbs, even to the point of becoming a tree. When these passages are taken together with Matthew 17: 20, Mark 11: 22-24 and Luke 17: 6 discussed in the previous articles on this series, it is clear that it is the faith of that seed, not the size of that seed which enables it to accomplish such a great feat. The mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, has the greatest faith among all seeds.

Matthew 17:20 is not about a faith the size of a mustard seed (which is “very” small), but a faith like the one of the mustard seed (which is “very” great).

Really, a faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain? That’s what Matthew 17:20 seems to say! (Part 3 of 7)

mountain_peak_at_sunset-wideArgument 3: Adding the words “small” or “size” to Matthew 17:20 causes Jesus-Christ to contradict himself in his teachings elsewhere.

Mark 11:22-24 – And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Matthew 17:20 (NIV) – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

In this series we argue that the answer to the question in the title of this article is NO! You may click here to read the second argument.

In Mark 11, Jesus-Christ describes again the power of faith as the power to move mountains. However, here we find an additional important peace of information: The person shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass. In other words, the faith required to move mountain is the one in which the man does not doubt. How is this kind of faith, one that is completely devoid of doubt, be the size of a grain of mustard seed? If indeed that faith is only as big as a grain of mustard seed, what kind of things would we be able to do with say, a faith the size of a watermelon? May be fly? Move the sun 50 degrees to the right in the morning and 23.5 degrees to the left in the afternoon? Breathe like a fish and stay under water for months at a time? To move a mountain certainly sounds like the biggest challenge one can ever have, so why would anyone ever wants to strive for a larger faith?

Jesus-Christ cannot be contradicting Himself. When He said…faith as a grain of mustard seed to move a mountain, that is what He meant. And when He said that one should not doubt in order to move a mountain, that is what He meant. The faith of a mustard seed is one that does not doubt.

Really, a faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain? That’s what Matthew 17:20 seems to say! (Part 2 of 7)

500px-HIGHROCKMatthew 17:20 (NIV) – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

In this series we argue that the answer to the question in the title of this article is NO! You may click here to read the first argument.

Argument 2:  Adding the words “small” or “size” to Matthew 17:20 causes Jesus-Christ to contradict himself right here in this very verse

The KJV, NIV and NASB all agree with the Greek texts when it comes to how Jesus-Christ describes whom He is speaking to: He saw them as people of little faith. The Greek word translated unbelief (KJV), little faith (NIV) or littleness of your faith (NASB) is the word oligópistos, formed from olígos, meaning “little in number or low in quantity” and pístis, meaning “faith”.

Jesus-Christ is describing these people as people of little faith, not people of no faith. Furthermore, Matthew 17: 16, 19 tell us that these were disciples of Jesus-Christ.

Matthew 17: 16 and 19 – “…I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”…Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

As disciples, followers of His teachings, these people must have had some faith. This is also evident by the fact that they were surprised that they were not able to cast the demon out (Matthew 17:19). They must have had some faith if they thought they could cast a demon! May be because they had done it before…?

Therefore, if Jesus-Christ acknowledges that his disciples had some faith (although little), how can He at the same time imply they had no faith (their faith is not even the size of a mustard seed, which is sufficient to move even mountains)? This certainly appears like the kind of contradictory statement that would leave anyone scratching his or her head!

We believe that Jesus-Christ implied just that – that their faith was insufficient. But He certainly did not mean to say that their faith was smaller than even the tiniest of seeds…which would mean non-existent.

Really, a faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain? That’s what Matthew 17:20 seems to say! (Part 1 of 7)

mountain_peak_at_sunset-wideMatthew 17:20 – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” [New International Version (NIV)]

It can be argued that this statement made by Jesus-Christ is one of, if not, the greatest statement ever made about faith. With it, we can move mountains! That is certainly some power that God has placed at our disposal. The issue at hand however is on the kind of faith that can help us move mountains. Is it really a faith as small as a mustard seed? The short answer to this question is NO! The next few articles will be dedicated to this topic.

Argument 1: It is a matter of Bible translations, and here…it really matters!

Here is the same verse in two other popular Bible translations: The King James Version (KJV) and the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Matthew 17:20 (KJV) – And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Matthew 17:20 (NASB) – And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

It is clear that while the NIV and NASB make explicit reference to the size of the mustard seed, which is very, very small, the KJV does not. However, what is very interesting is that in the Greek texts, neither the word size nor the word small appears in this verse. In other words, the NIV and NASB added these words, while the KJV left this verse intact. Another example is in Luke 17:6, where Jesus-Christ gives another teaching that is very similar to the one in Matthew.

Luke 17:6 (KJV) – And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

Again, in this verse, the NIV added the word small (“…If you have faith as small as a mustard seed…”). However – and interestingly – the NASB did not add the word size as it did in Matthew (“…If you had faith like a mustard seed…”). Why such inconsistency in the NASB, especially since the teachings of Jesus-Christ in Matthew 17 and here in Luke 17 are essentially the same?

The important question is therefore whether the three versions (KJV, NIV, and NASB) are essentially saying the same thing. The short is answer is NO! As will be argued, adding either size or small changes entirely the message of Jesus-Christ.

It is a good idea to have several Bible versions and compare them as often as possible to detect any potential error in translation.