Put yourself in the scene for a moment. You are sitting in a crowd staring longingly at Jesus. He has just said His followers should be glad when they are persecuted because they will receive a reward in heaven. Then he says, “…if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?”

Keep in mind being involved in a rebellion against Roman rule is no small thing. Many rebellions against the Romans have been squelched as the leader and followers are murdered.

In those moments, could we possibly have a sense of the magnitude of what Jesus knows will happen? No. We can’t see through the ages to understand Jesus’s teaching of the Gospel, the “good news,” is His sacrificial death for the forgiveness of sins and the restoration of the relationship between God and man. This wonderful message will spread throughout the whole world. The saltiness Jesus is referring to will reach every nation and develop a thirst for knowing God through His Messiah.

Jesus always purposefully crafts his words. His reference to salt is clear to his listeners. There are three basic purposes of salt at that time: thirst, preservation, and seasoning. Jesus teaches his followers to first, create spiritual thirst in others. Secondly, preserve godliness in culture. And thirdly, season their actions with godliness so their fruitful lives seem attractive—“tasty”—to others.

Knowing God is in charge of the result of our representation will comfort and strengthen us. Even when we represent Him well, we can’t force anyone to become spiritually thirsty, or culture be preserved, or our godly actions be attractive to others. God must work, even using us when we are persecuted. Thankfully, He graciously and generously wants to use us to be a part of His plan, no matter the result.

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of fifty-eight books and an international speaker. This devotional is adapted from her book God’s Intriguing Questions: 60 New Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature. Kathy loves to share with others about God’s perfect nature as the means of trusting Him more. Find her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.
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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

As I studied the questions God asks in the Bible in preparation to write God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature (co-authored with my husband, Larry), I came across a fascinating reference to the “vine of Sodom” (Deuteronomy 32:32) God gives as an example of how His people have sinned and why they deserve justice and judgment.

“For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
and from the fields of Gomorrah;
their grapes are grapes of poison;
their clusters are bitter.” (ESV)

Some commentators have varying ideas about the “vine of Sodom” which the Bible refers to only this once. Over the years, many have tried to identify the exact plant God refers to. The most obvious are grapes. Yet researchers have wondered if there is any other kind of what some commentators translate as “apples of Sodom.”

The osher fruit might be a candidate, appearing like a delicious, smooth, soft, yellow apple or orange. But when grabbed or bitten, the fruit disintegrates into a puff of air, a thin rind, and a few fibers. What seemed so fulfilling offers nothing of value.

That’s God’s point. His people are depending upon empty, ineffective, worthless things which become idols. Idol worship deserves judgment because the Israelites are putting their hope into a “puff of air.” The hollow “vine cluster” seems to give a tiny spiritual taste of satisfaction but doesn’t last. God wants His created beings to see Himself as the satisfying God of the universe who only gives good gifts, not disappointing puffs of air.

Kathy Collard Miller is passionate about communicating the hope God offers by revealing His perfect nature throughout the Bible. Kathy is the author of more than 55 books and has spoken in more than 35 US states and 9 foreign countries. www.KathyCollardMiller.com

 

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Have you ever felt really known? Every one of us longs to be fully known, loved, and appreciated. John 1:48 tells us about the interaction between Nathaniel and Jesus. “Nathanael said to him, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you’” (ESV).

Jesus tells him he saw him hidden under the fig tree. Jesus knows Nathaniel’s nature, motives, and physical hidden location.

There are differing ideas of what Nathaniel is doing within the confines of the overhanging branches of the fig tree. Two in particular would seem to go along with Jesus’s motive to convince Nathaniel He is the Messiah.

First, Nathaniel was meditating on or studying the story of Jacob’s dream about angels going up and down the ladder in Genesis 28. Secondly, Nathaniel was seeking information from God about the coming Messiah.

Both go along with the Jacob story because Jesus is saying he, himself, is the predicted, symbolic ladder whereby people will have communication with heaven even though they are on earth.

Nathaniel immediately calls Jesus the Son of God and King of Israel.

Jesus is thrilled and replies, in effect, “Then that’s why you believe? Seeing and knowing you is nothing compared to what you are going to see and know, including the heavens opened and angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

What a wonderful example for us as we respond to the new faith of new believers. They don’t know a lot and we know how much more they will need to learn. Like Jesus, we can rejoice over what they do know, not what they don’t yet know. And that they are known by Jesus.

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller and her husband Larry are co-authors of God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature. Individually and as a couple they have authored over 55 books and spoken in over 35 states and nine foreign countries. They live in Southern California and are parents, grandparents, and lay-counselors. Visit them at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

 

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As I was talking with a women’s ministry director at a church training conference, I hoped she would invite me to speak at her women’s retreat. I enjoyed one of the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies set before us while we sat in the lounge of the convention center. When she asked my opinion on some important issues, I spoke with confident tones. I was thrilled to see her staring at my mouth, obviously eager to hear my every word. Surely, I was impressing her. All I have to do is say the right things, I assured myself, as I anxiously tried to think of what those “right things” might be.

After we concluded, I headed for the restroom feeling content with the open door God had given me. I walked through the restroom door and saw my reflection in the mirror. What’s that dark thing on my lip? I went closer and realized chocolate was dripping down my lip and chin. Oh, no, how long has that been there? I realized the mess had decorated my face during most of our conversation. For whatever reason, she had not felt comfortable telling me.

Oh, Lord, what have you done to me? What about my pithy statements and wise admonitions? How foolish I must have looked. How humiliating!

In a flash of truth, I recognized my dissatisfaction with God’s plan. And I started laughing. Oh, Lord, you do have a sense of humor. Please forgive me for my pride and self-importance. I fell into that trap again. But I also acknowledged God’s power because rather than being discontent with myself for the next five days (like other times), the reflection in the bathroom mirror brought immediate joy. I started laughing! My heart rejoiced! I thought, I have grown in this area!

 

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is an international speaker and author of over 55 books including Heart Wisdom: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, a women’s Bible study on Proverbs. www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Heart Wisdom cover

Heart Wisdom cover

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Seated at the table with seven other women attending the women’s retreat where I was speaking, I enjoyed visiting with these young moms. Each one introduced herself and then we started talking about the gift of hospitality. Sarah spoke up and motioned to the woman beside her.

“Natalie has the most amazing gift of hospitality. Her husband must have had it in mind when he built their huge house. She just makes everyone feel welcome.”

The women nodded their agreement. Then another friend of hers offered, “Natalie’s house is so inviting, you’d never guess it’s 6,500 square feet.”

Everyone nodded their agreement again.

Then Ginny spoke up. “It was so funny the other day. My young son, Kyle, and I were driving home from Natalie’s house after he had played there that day, and somehow we got on the subject of who was rich. I asked him, ‘Who do you think is rich?’ and I mentioned several friends, including Natalie. For each one, he said they weren’t rich.

Then I mentioned my sister-in-law who is definitely not rich and she has a 1,400 square-foot home. But Kyle said she was rich!

“When I asked him why he thought that, he replied, ‘Because she has a Play Station.’”

We all laughed. Talk about a perspective of priorities. To Kyle, whatever was important to him made a person rich.

And aren’t we all like that? Each of us has different priorities and a definition of wealth. Which just means we each can feel wealthy in whatever circumstance we are. There will always be someone with more money–and with less. How blessed we are if we’re content with what we have.

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Heart Wisdom by Kathy Collard Miller

Heart Wisdom by Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 55 books including Heart Wisdom in her Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, a women’s study on Proverbs. She has spoken in 35 states and 8 foreign countries. www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

 

 

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