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Richard Myers

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The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« on: March 04, 2016, 07:19:07 AM »
Barriers Broken Down


     After the encounter with the Pharisees, Jesus withdrew from Capernaum, and crossing Galilee, repaired to the hill country on the borders of Phoenicia. Looking westward, He could see, spread out upon the plain below, the ancient cities of Tyre and Sidon, with their heathen temples, their magnificent palaces and marts of trade, and the harbors filled with shipping. Beyond was the blue expanse of the Mediterranean, over which the messengers of the gospel were to bear its glad tidings to the centers of the world's great empire. But the time was not yet. The work before Him now was to prepare His disciples for their mission. In coming to this region He hoped to find the retirement He had failed to secure at Bethsaida. Yet this was not His only purpose in taking this journey. 
     "Behold, a Canaanitish woman came out from those borders, and cried, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil." Matthew 15:22, R. V. The people of this district were of the old Canaanite race. They were idolaters, and were despised and hated by the Jews. To this class belonged the woman who now came to Jesus. She was a heathen, and was therefore excluded from the advantages which the Jews daily enjoyed. There were many Jews living among the Phoenicians, and the tidings of Christ's work had penetrated to this region. Some of the people had listened to His words and had witnessed His wonderful works. This woman had heard of the prophet, who, it was reported, healed all manner of diseases. As she heard of His power, hope sprang up in her heart. Inspired by a mother's love, she determined to present her daughter's case to Him. It was her resolute purpose to bring her affliction to Jesus. He must heal her child. She had sought help from the heathen gods, but had obtained no relief. And at times she was tempted to think, What can this Jewish teacher do for me? But the word had come, He heals all manner of diseases, whether those who come to Him for help are rich or poor. She determined not to lose her only hope.
     Christ knew this woman's situation. He knew that she was longing to see Him, and He placed Himself in her path. By ministering to her sorrow, He could give a living representation of the lesson He designed to teach. For this He had brought His disciples into this region. He desired them to see the ignorance existing in cities and villages close to the land of Israel. The people who had been given every opportunity to understand the truth were without a knowledge of the needs of those around them. No effort was made to help souls in darkness. The partition wall which Jewish pride had erected, shut even the disciples from sympathy with the heathen world. But these barriers were to be broken down.
     Christ did not immediately reply to the woman's request. He received this representative of a despised race as the Jews would have done. In this He designed that His disciples should be impressed with the cold and heartless manner in which the Jews would treat such a case, as evinced by His reception of the woman, and the compassionate manner in which He would have them deal with such distress, as manifested by His subsequent granting of her petition.   
     But although Jesus did not reply, the woman did not lose faith. As He passed on, as if not hearing her, she followed Him, continuing her supplications. Annoyed by her importunities, the disciples asked Jesus to send her away. They saw that their Master treated her with indifference, and they therefore supposed that the prejudice of the Jews against the Canaanites was pleasing to Him. But it was a pitying Saviour to whom the woman made her plea, and in answer to the request of the disciples, Jesus said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Although this answer appeared to be in accordance with the prejudice of the Jews, it was an implied rebuke to the disciples, which they afterward understood as reminding them of what He had often told them,--that He came to the world to save all who would accept Him. 
     The woman urged her case with increased earnestness, bowing at Christ's feet, and crying, "Lord, help me." Jesus, still apparently rejecting her entreaties, according to the unfeeling prejudice of the Jews, answered, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." This was virtually asserting that it was not just to lavish the blessings brought to the favored people of God upon strangers and aliens from Israel. This answer would have utterly discouraged a less earnest seeker. But the woman saw that her opportunity had come. Beneath the apparent refusal of Jesus, she saw a compassion that He could not hide. "Truth, Lord," she answered, "yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." While the children of the household eat at the father's table, even the dogs are not left unfed. They have a right to the crumbs that fall from the table abundantly supplied. So while there were many blessings given to Israel, was there not also a blessing for her? She was looked upon as a dog, and had she not then a dog's claim to a crumb from His bounty? 
     Jesus had just departed from His field of labor because the scribes and Pharisees were seeking to take His life. They murmured and complained. They manifested unbelief and bitterness, and refused the salvation so freely offered them. Here Christ meets one of an unfortunate and despised race, that has not been favored with the light of God's word; yet she yields at once to the divine influence of Christ, and has implicit faith in His ability to grant the favor she asks. She begs for the crumbs that fall from the Master's table. If she may have the privilege of a dog, she is willing to be regarded as a dog. She has no national or religious prejudice or pride to influence her course, and she immediately acknowledges Jesus as the Redeemer, and as being able to do all that she asks of Him. 
     The Saviour is satisfied. He has tested her faith in Him. By His dealings with her, He has shown that she who has been regarded as an outcast from Israel is no longer an alien, but a child in God's household. As a child it is her privilege to share in the Father's gifts. Christ now grants her request, and finishes the lesson to the disciples. Turning to her with a look of pity and love, He says, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." From that hour her daughter became whole. The demon troubled her no more. The woman departed, acknowledging her Saviour, and happy in the granting of her prayer. 
     This was the only miracle that Jesus wrought while on this journey. It was for the performance of this act that He went to the borders of Tyre and Sidon. He wished to relieve the afflicted woman, and at the same time to leave an example in His work of mercy toward one of a despised people for the benefit of His disciples when He should no longer be with them. He wished to lead them from their Jewish exclusiveness to be interested in working for others besides their own people.
     Jesus longed to unfold the deep mysteries of the truth which had been hid for ages, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs with the Jews, and "partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel." Ephesians 3:6. This truth the disciples were slow to learn, and the divine Teacher gave them lesson upon lesson. In rewarding the faith of the centurion at Capernaum, and preaching the gospel to the inhabitants of Sychar, He had already given evidence that He did not share the intolerance of the Jews. But the Samaritans had some knowledge of God; and the centurion had shown kindness to Israel. Now Jesus brought the disciples in contact with a heathen, whom they regarded as having no reason above any of her people, to expect favor from Him. He would give an example of how such a one should be treated. The disciples had thought that He dispensed too freely the gifts of His grace. He would show that His love was not to be circumscribed to race or nation.
     When He said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel," He stated the truth, and in His work for the Canaanite woman He was fulfilling His commission. This woman was one of the lost sheep that Israel should have rescued. It was their appointed work, the work which they had neglected, that Christ was doing. 
     This act opened the minds of the disciples more fully to the labor that lay before them among the Gentiles. They saw a wide field of usefulness outside of Judea. They saw souls bearing sorrows unknown to those more highly favored. Among those whom they had been taught to despise were souls longing for help from the mighty Healer, hungering for the light of truth, which had been so abundantly given to the Jews.
     Afterward, when the Jews turned still more persistently from the disciples, because they declared Jesus to be the Saviour of the world, and when the partition wall between Jew and Gentile was broken down by the death of Christ, this lesson, and similar ones which pointed to the gospel work unrestricted by custom or nationality, had a powerful influence upon the representatives of Christ, in directing their labors.
     The Saviour's visit to Phoenicia and the miracle there performed had a yet wider purpose. Not alone for the afflicted woman, nor even for His disciples and those who received their labors, was the work accomplished; but also "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name." John 20:31. The same agencies that barred men away from Christ eighteen hundred years ago are at work today. The spirit which built up the partition wall between Jew and Gentile is still active. Pride and prejudice have built strong walls of separation between different classes of men. Christ and His mission have been misrepresented, and multitudes feel that they are virtually shut away from the ministry of the gospel. But let them not feel that they are shut away from Christ. There are no barriers which man or Satan can erect but that faith can penetrate.
     In faith the woman of Phoenicia flung herself against the barriers that had been piled up between Jew and Gentile. Against discouragement, regardless of appearances that might have led her to doubt, she trusted the Saviour's love. It is thus that Christ desires us to trust in Him. The blessings of salvation are for every soul. Nothing but his own choice can prevent any man from becoming a partaker of the promise in Christ by the gospel.
     Caste is hateful to God. He ignores everything of this character. In His sight the souls of all men are of equal value. He "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us." Without distinction of age, or rank, or nationality, or religious privilege, all are invited to come unto Him and live. "Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference." "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free." "The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the Maker of them all." "The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Acts 17:26, 27; Galatians 3:28; Proverbs 22:2; Romans 10:11-13.   
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2016, 07:33:28 AM »
The Saviour's visit to Phoenicia and the miracle there performed had a yet wider purpose. Not alone for the afflicted woman, nor even for His disciples and those who received their labors, was the work accomplished; but also "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name." John 20:31. The same agencies that barred men away from Christ eighteen hundred years ago are at work today. The spirit which built up the partition wall between Jew and Gentile is still active. Pride and prejudice have built strong walls of separation between different classes of men. Christ and His mission have been misrepresented, and multitudes feel that they are virtually shut away from the ministry of the gospel. But let them not feel that they are shut away from Christ. There are no barriers which man or Satan can erect but that faith can penetrate. 
     In faith the woman of Phoenicia flung herself against the barriers that had been piled up between Jew and Gentile. Against discouragement, regardless of appearances that might have led her to doubt, she trusted the Saviour's love. It is thus that Christ desires us to trust in Him. The blessings of salvation are for every soul. Nothing but his own choice can prevent any man from becoming a partaker of the promise in Christ by the gospel.   


...bowing at Christ's feet, and crying, "Lord, help me." Jesus, still apparently rejecting her entreaties, according to the unfeeling prejudice of the Jews, answered, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." This was virtually asserting that it was not just to lavish the blessings brought to the favored people of God upon strangers and aliens from Israel. This answer would have utterly discouraged a less earnest seeker. But the woman saw that her opportunity had come. Beneath the apparent refusal of Jesus, she saw a compassion that He could not hide.

Do we possess that same compassion for lost souls?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2016, 07:02:26 PM »
Do we possess that same compassion for lost souls?

If we truly understand our history and how Christ died for us while we were still His enemy and if we now love Him because He first loved us, how can we not but have a burden for lost souls?
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2016, 06:34:26 AM »
I heartily agree with how we so need a compassion for lost souls--and we see this in Jesus' own manner of dealing with this Gentile woman:

The Saviour is satisfied. He has tested her faith in Him. By His dealings with her, He has shown that she who has been regarded as an outcast from Israel is no longer an alien, but a child in God's household. As a child it is her privilege to share in the Father's gifts. Christ now grants her request, and finishes the lesson to the disciples. Turning to her with a look of pity and love, He says, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." From that hour her daughter became whole. The demon troubled her no more. The woman departed, acknowledging her Saviour, and happy in the granting of her prayer. 

Jesus is more desirous of granting our request for spiritual healing than we are of even asking (for it is grace working upon the heart that actually causes us to desire the blessing He longs to impart to the soul), and this woman came to more than faith in HIs healing power, but in Him as Saviour. This is a beautiful illustration of our Saviour's love that through beholding may be revealed in us today, as well!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2016, 06:42:33 AM »
"Grace working upon the heart" is what Jesus was attempting to teach His disciples who were so very slow to learn.

"Jesus longed to unfold the deep mysteries of the truth which had been hid for ages, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs with the Jews, and 'partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.' Ephesians 3:6. This truth the disciples were slow to learn, and the divine Teacher gave them lesson upon lesson."  As we study Genesis 3:15, we better understand both the promise and why it is necessary to be "in Christ" as the gospel teaches. Having compassion as Jesus does requires we become partakers of this promise which was promised at great expense (grace).
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2016, 07:26:29 AM »
Today's reading has to do with barriers between God's people and the world. As a people do we have barriers against some in the world? Not like Israel, not as a people we don't. But, we have placed barriers between people in the church. And, I believe there is even a more important lesson for us in this chapter.

   "Behold, a Canaanitish woman came out from those borders, and cried, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil." Matthew 15:22, R. V. The people of this district were of the old Canaanite race. They were idolaters, and were despised and hated by the Jews. To this class belonged the woman who now came to Jesus. She was a heathen, and was therefore excluded from the advantages which the Jews daily enjoyed. There were many Jews living among the Phoenicians, and the tidings of Christ's work had penetrated to this region. Some of the people had listened to His words and had witnessed His wonderful works. This woman had heard of the prophet, who, it was reported, healed all manner of diseases. As she heard of His power, hope sprang up in her heart. Inspired by a mother's love, she determined to present her daughter's case to Him. It was her resolute purpose to bring her affliction to Jesus. He must heal her child. She had sought help from the heathen gods, but had obtained no relief. And at times she was tempted to think, What can this Jewish teacher do for me? But the word had come, He heals all manner of diseases, whether those who come to Him for help are rich or poor. She determined not to lose her only hope.
     Christ knew this woman's situation. He knew that she was longing to see Him, and He placed Himself in her path. By ministering to her sorrow, He could give a living representation of the lesson He designed to teach. For this He had brought His disciples into this region. He desired them to see the ignorance existing in cities and villages close to the land of Israel. The people who had been given every opportunity to understand the truth were without a knowledge of the needs of those around them. No effort was made to help souls in darkness. The partition wall which Jewish pride had erected, shut even the disciples from sympathy with the heathen world. But these barriers were to be broken down.


The disciples had no sympathy for this heathen woman. They did not desire to help her. Do we see the same today? We certainly do. As a people we believe we are rich and increased with the truth. This is true. But, we do not see others like this Canaanitish woman who are longing for the truth. What truth? All kinds of truth. Has not God blessed us as a people. Think of the light we have been given. Light in every area of life. How to rear children. How to regain health. How to prevent disease. How to grow a garden. How to educate children. How to minister to sin sick souls. How to be converted. How to maintain that conversion. Most of all we have been given a knowledge of God. And, what do we do with these truths when there are multitudes perishing without them? Something to contemplate.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2016, 12:14:19 PM »
Richard, I appreciate the thoughts you brought out. It strikes me that Jesus is our Example in this chapter--He sought out the woman and placed Himself in her path. Well would it be for us to come in contact with people who do not have great light, who are in darkness and error, and have the opportunity to share with them about a better way. If we are willing to let Christ use us, He can lead souls into our pathway right in the everyday experiences of our lives. And as we do allow the light God has given us to reach hearts, we ourselves will be richly blessed, for it is "more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

Do we want our Saviour to be satisfied in the accomplishment of His mission through us as His people? Then we are to work to help people come to saving faith in Him as the redeemer!

     The Saviour is satisfied. He has tested her faith in Him. By His dealings with her, He has shown that she who has been regarded as an outcast from Israel is no longer an alien, but a child in God's household. As a child it is her privilege to share in the Father's gifts. Christ now grants her request, and finishes the lesson to the disciples. Turning to her with a look of pity and love, He says, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." From that hour her daughter became whole. The demon troubled her no more. The woman departed, acknowledging her Saviour, and happy in the granting of her prayer. 

The beautiful thing about this woman's faith was that it was simple and persistent. Many times the people that we meet in the world from a very dark or heathen background are so open to truth that they will simply accept it as it is written--they are open to taking God at His word, because everything else they have tried has not worked. Others we meet who have some knowledge of God and His word, and may not be Seventh-day Adventists, but they love Jesus and have been deceived on some points. We are to deal gently with them, first finding points of common ground and helping them to realize that we love Jesus and are Christians, and that we desire to benefit them. Others, it may be harder to reach, as it was for Jesus in His ministry (or it may just take longer to reach them, as we know that after Christ's death and resurrection, many of the priests were obedient to the faith, according to Acts 6:7). Those that are often hardest to reach are those who feel they have no need of anything, and yet are in a spiritually lost condition. In Christ's dealing with this precious heathen woman, His mind was brought to see the contrast between the receptivity of this heathen to the cold rejection of those who should have been ready to receive the Messiah:

 Jesus had just departed from His field of labor because the scribes and Pharisees were seeking to take His life. They murmured and complained. They manifested unbelief and bitterness, and refused the salvation so freely offered them. Here Christ meets one of an unfortunate and despised race, that has not been favored with the light of God's word; yet she yields at once to the divine influence of Christ, and has implicit faith in His ability to grant the favor she asks. She begs for the crumbs that fall from the Master's table. If she may have the privilege of a dog, she is willing to be regarded as a dog. She has no national or religious prejudice or pride to influence her course, and she immediately acknowledges Jesus as the Redeemer, and as being able to do all that she asks of Him. 

Do we yield at once to what God shows us to be true? There is a lesson and a warning for us here as Seventh-day Adventists. Do we murmur and complain when more and more light shines upon us in the areas of health, lifestyle, relationships, prophecy, country living, stewardship, evangelism and witnessing, or any other area upon which we not only have the Bible, but the amazing blessing of additional counsel and specific situations addressed in the Spirit of Prophecy? Or do we rejoice that God is calling us to abide in Him to be able to follow the light--because He loves us? Let us remember that "all His biddings are enablings" {COL 331.1}.

May we pray that we will ever be open to receive the light as it shines upon us, and not be content with where we are today. Jesus wants to take us in a higher experience. That woman started the life eternal by coming to saving faith in Jesus. Many of the Jews thought they already had that life, and murmured when more light was brought to them in Christ as the Messiah. Their murmuring revealed that they did not have the life they thought they had. The manner in which we treat additional light is an indicator of where our hearts are at with Jesus. Like the Jews, as a church we are in a Laodicean condition, and we need Jesus abiding in the heart to cure the spiritual malady of the soul.

Revelation 3
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Those who respond to Jesus' invitation begin the life eternal. It does not matter if you are a Laodicean Seventh-day Adventist and need to be born again by letting Christ enter your heart, or if you grew up not even knowing about God, and like the heathen woman come to accept what God shows you in Chirst. But the result is always the same in the heart renewed by grace: when we have this experience of living by faith on Christ, all the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives--not one will be missing.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2016, 06:51:49 AM »
But although Jesus did not reply, the woman did not lose faith. As He passed on, as if not hearing her, she followed Him, continuing her supplications.

I find this interesting. Sometimes in our prayers we ask once or twice and then move on. She should be an example to all of us. She pressed on for what she desired. This reminds me of the chapter about the walk to Emmaus. It says there that Christ continued to walk until He pressed by the disciples to come in with them.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2016, 07:22:58 AM »
Amen, Jim, my thoughts also. If they had not pressed the invitation for Jesus to come in, Jesus would not have eaten with them, and they would have missed the great blessing. It also reminded me of the importunate widow. If we want something bad enough, we need to continue on with our prayers and efforts. And, there was also the example of Jacob not letting go of God until he received the blessing.

The woman's faith in Christ was strong. Is ours? If our faith wavers, the Bible tells us how we may have greater faith. Our faith is dependent upon our knowledge of God, our love for Him. Therefore, if we would spend time with Him, would we not know Him better? By beholding His glory, His character, we shall not only know Him better, and trust Him more, we shall be transformed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18). "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

As we spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ, we shall become partakers of His divine nature. It is a promise! Then our "Jewish pride" will cease keeping us from ministering to others not of our faith. "He desired them to see the ignorance existing in cities and villages close to the land of Israel. The people who had been given every opportunity to understand the truth were without a knowledge of the needs of those around them. No effort was made to help souls in darkness." When we are truly converted, we will want to help those who do not know the loveliness of Jesus. Then the strong will bear with the infirmities of the weak.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2016, 09:48:06 AM »
Amen, Jim!! Amen, Richard! I love the unity of spirit and doctrine so evident among us as we behold the loveliness of Jesus! Jesus, the lovely Savior, gave this experience to the woman and to His disciples--not just for them, but for us. Let us not allow anything to come between us and our time with Jesus, spending that "thoughtful hour" with Him! When we love Jesus with all the heart and mind (because we behold and surrender to Him fully), we shall desire to minister to others as we see in the life of Jesus!

The Saviour's visit to Phoenicia and the miracle there performed had a yet wider purpose. Not alone for the afflicted woman, nor even for His disciples and those who received their labors, was the work accomplished; but also "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name." John 20:31. The same agencies that barred men away from Christ eighteen hundred years ago are at work today. The spirit which built up the partition wall between Jew and Gentile is still active. Pride and prejudice have built strong walls of separation between different classes of men. Christ and His mission have been misrepresented, and multitudes feel that they are virtually shut away from the ministry of the gospel. But let them not feel that they are shut away from Christ. There are no barriers which man or Satan can erect but that faith can penetrate.

Let us look to Jesus and live! Praise God for barriers broken down!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2017, 06:36:20 AM »
I love the unity of spirit and doctrine so evident among us as we behold the loveliness of Jesus!

Amen! And it is indeed more than unity of Spirit, there is also a unity of doctrine. There is a remnant being formed that will be united in both Spirit and doctrine. The church will see the message given by Jesus in Rev. chapter three, there will be "a shaking," and two groups will come forth. Those who love Jesus with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength will reflect the character of Christ and His glory will shine upon His church.

How do we gain this unity? How does our faith come to the point of trusting Jesus with all of the heart? It is by beholding the loveliness of Jesus that we become transformed in character, and reflect His image (2 Cor. 3:18). And, God allows trials to come to us to reveal if a heart is not wholly given to Him, that we might have opportunity to know what is shutting Jesus out of the heart.

In today's reading we find that one of a despised race has faith that many in God's organized religion did not have. Most of the leaders were like Nicodemus in that they believed they were rich and increased with goods, but did not know they were wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

    Jesus had just departed from His field of labor because the scribes and Pharisees were seeking to take His life. They murmured and complained. They manifested unbelief and bitterness, and refused the salvation so freely offered them. Here Christ meets one of an unfortunate and despised race, that has not been favored with the light of God's word; yet she yields at once to the divine influence of Christ, and has implicit faith in His ability to grant the favor she asks. She begs for the crumbs that fall from the Master's table. If she may have the privilege of a dog, she is willing to be regarded as a dog. She has no national or religious prejudice or pride to influence her course, and she immediately acknowledges Jesus as the Redeemer, and as being able to do all that she asks of Him.
     The Saviour is satisfied. He has tested her faith in Him. By His dealings with her, He has shown that she who has been regarded as an outcast from Israel is no longer an alien, but a child in God's household. As a child it is her privilege to share in the Father's gifts. Christ now grants her request, and finishes the lesson to the disciples. Turning to her with a look of pity and love, He says, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." From that hour her daughter became whole. The demon troubled her no more. The woman departed, acknowledging her Saviour, and happy in the granting of her prayer. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2017, 06:54:08 AM »
The Canaanitish woman was "tested" by Jesus. Today, Jesus is testing His people also. Many have been deceived about what it means to be a Christian, a truly converted repentant sinner. They do not understand the power of grace to transform the character at conversion, and to cleanse the whole heart from fleshly lust. Here is a statement of truth that flies in the face of Satan's lie that allows many to believe they are in a saved condition when in fact the heart remains at enmity with God. It makes no difference that one hides from the truth and does not know their own heart. They remain unreconciled to God until the heart is fully cleansed, fully given to Christ.

    I was shown that the testimony to the Laodiceans applies to God's people at the present time, and the reason it has not accomplished a greater work is because of the hardness of their hearts. But God has given the message time to do its work. The heart must be purified from sins which have so long shut out Jesus. This fearful message will do its work. When it was first presented, it led to close examination of heart. Sins were confessed, and the people of God were stirred everywhere. Nearly all believed that this message would end in the loud cry of the third angel. But as they failed to see the powerful work accomplished in a short time, many lost the effect of the message. I saw that this message would not accomplish its work in a few short months. It is designed to arouse the people of God, to discover to them their backslidings, and to lead to zealous repentance, that they may be favored with the presence of Jesus, and be fitted for the loud cry of the third angel. As this message affected the heart, it led to deep humility before God. Angels were sent in every direction to prepare unbelieving hearts for the truth. The cause of God began to rise, and His people were acquainted with their position. If the counsel of the True Witness had been fully heeded, God would have wrought for His people in greater power. Yet the efforts made since the message has been given, have been blessed of God, and many souls have been brought from error and darkness to rejoice in the truth.   
     God will prove His people. Jesus bears patiently with them, and does not spew them out of His mouth in a moment. Said the angel: "God is weighing His people." If the message had been of as short duration as many of us supposed, there would have been no time for them to develop character. Many moved from feeling, not from principle and faith, and this solemn, fearful message stirred them. It wrought upon their feelings, and excited their fears, but did not accomplish the work which God designed that it should. God reads the heart. Lest His people should be deceived in regard to themselves, He gives them time for the excitement to wear off, and then proves them to see if they will obey the counsel of the True Witness. 
     God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advanced point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome, if they would not be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord. Said the angel: "God will bring His work closer and closer to test and prove every one of His people." Some are willing to receive one point; but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. They prize something higher than the truth, and their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus. Individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the True Witness. If any will not be purified through obeying the truth, and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions, the angels of God have the charge: "They are joined to their idols, let them alone," and they pass on to their work, leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels. Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.
     God proves His people in this world. This is the fitting-up place to appear in His presence. Here, in this world, in these last days, persons will show what power affects their hearts and controls their actions. If it is the power of divine truth, it will lead to good works. It will elevate the receiver, and make him noblehearted and generous, like his divine Lord. But if evil angels control the heart, it will be seen in various ways. The fruit will be selfishness, covetousness, pride, and evil passions.   
     The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Professors of religion are not willing to closely examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith; and it is a fearful fact that many are leaning on a false hope. Some lean upon an old experience which they had years ago; but when brought down to this heart-searching time, when all should have a daily experience, they have nothing to relate. They seem to think that a profession of the truth will save them. When they subdue those sins which God hates, Jesus will come in and sup with them and they with Him. They will then draw divine strength from Jesus, and will grow up in Him, and be able with holy triumph to say: "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." It would be more pleasing to the Lord if lukewarm professors of religion had never named His name. They are a continual weight to those who would be faithful followers of Jesus. They are a stumbling block to unbelievers, and evil angels exult over them, and taunt the angels of God with their crooked course. Such are a curse to the cause at home or abroad. They draw nigh to God with their lips, while their heart is far from Him.   
     I was shown that the people of God should not imitate the fashions of the world. Some have done this, and are fast losing the peculiar, holy character which should distinguish them as God's people. Vol 1, Testimonies for the Church, pgs 186-188.


Don't be misled by the reference to the latter rain and translation. This message is to the unconverted in the church. It is the straight testimony that has been rejected by the church, but many will see the sins in the heart and be converted. None will received the latter rain unless they are converted and the heart wholly cleansed no matter what they know or don't know.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 10:14:41 AM »
Amen, Richard! But really, I am simply affirming the truth of the Testimonies statement you cited, as it is so needed at this present time. We need Jesus in the heart. If He does not dwell there, then the heart will indeed be deceitful and wicked, for no good thing can come of man unreconciled to God, of the fallen nature unsubdued by the divine nature. May we learn of our continual need of Jesus, and be grateful for the trying, refining process that is for our best good. The section of the Testimonies that you quoted reminds me of what we read in our chapter, in relation to those who will oppose such a straight testimony, and those who are willing to accept whatever light that shines:

 Jesus had just departed from His field of labor because the scribes and Pharisees were seeking to take His life. They murmured and complained. They manifested unbelief and bitterness, and refused the salvation so freely offered them. Here Christ meets one of an unfortunate and despised race, that has not been favored with the light of God's word; yet she yields at once to the divine influence of Christ, and has implicit faith in His ability to grant the favor she asks. She begs for the crumbs that fall from the Master's table. If she may have the privilege of a dog, she is willing to be regarded as a dog. She has no national or religious prejudice or pride to influence her course, and she immediately acknowledges Jesus as the Redeemer, and as being able to do all that she asks of Him. 

What a contrast! The professed people of God reject the Savior, while a despised Canaanite woman gratefully accepts the grace of God! May we realize that there are many souls around us who are hungering and thirsting for truth--but that there may be more open hearts outside of the church than inside if the ones "in the church" have not Jesus indwelling the heart. Let us pray for revival and reformation!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2017, 05:47:59 AM »
When Jesus leads, it is always worth going "out of the way" to reach a soul hungering for the light and blessings of the gospel!

 This was the only miracle that Jesus wrought while on this journey. It was for the performance of this act that He went to the borders of Tyre and Sidon. He wished to relieve the afflicted woman, and at the same time to leave an example in His work of mercy toward one of a despised people for the benefit of His disciples when He should no longer be with them. He wished to lead them from their Jewish exclusiveness to be interested in working for others besides their own people.


Let God lead you today--near or far--for souls open to truth! It is for such that we post here to encourage those who desire the truth as it is in Jesus!!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2017, 06:27:45 AM »
It is interesting to note the work of an evangelist. Not as the church does it, but as God would have each of us do it. Jesus did indeed go a long way to reach this precious soul. Are we willing to change our plans to do so? Many pay a faithful tithe, but how much time will they give to helping others know Jesus? There are multitudes in the world today who have not stood on vantage ground of being born into the religion of Jesus. They do not posses a Bible or a Desire of Ages. Yet, they seek truth. Who will seek them out? Who will go? Elijah was so tired of the rebellion he witnessed that he wanted to die. But, there was a world around him that did not know Jesus.

So it is today. Quit arguing with those who have had great light, and find the ones seeking truth who have never been privileged to be in the "house of Israel." Seek out the lost ones. The harvest field is white and the workers are few.

     Pride and prejudice have built strong walls of separation between different classes of men. Christ and His mission have been misrepresented, and multitudes feel that they are virtually shut away from the ministry of the gospel. But let them not feel that they are shut away from Christ. There are no barriers which man or Satan can erect but that faith can penetrate.

There are some cultures that are filthy, but in them are those who are trying to find help. Let us look beyond what their culture teaches and seek out those who want help.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2017, 05:11:36 AM »
Jesus longed to unfold the deep mysteries of the truth which had been hid for ages, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs with the Jews, and "partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel." Ephesians 3:6. This truth the disciples were slow to learn, and the divine Teacher gave them lesson upon lesson. In rewarding the faith of the centurion at Capernaum, and preaching the gospel to the inhabitants of Sychar, He had already given evidence that He did not share the intolerance of the Jews. But the Samaritans had some knowledge of God; and the centurion had shown kindness to Israel. Now Jesus brought the disciples in contact with a heathen, whom they regarded as having no reason above any of her people, to expect favor from Him. He would give an example of how such a one should be treated. The disciples had thought that He dispensed too freely the gifts of His grace. He would show that His love was not to be circumscribed to race or nation.

I do not fault the disciples for seemingly being so slow at learning a truth that is so obvious to us now. However, what I wonder is this... is there something that Christ is trying to teach me that my former experience is hindering my progress. I know that there have other times when a truth that I had not seen before finally settles home in my small brain I wonder how in the world I missed it before. Oh how I wish to learn from Him more!
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2017, 06:59:05 AM »
Amen, Jim! We shall be learning for eternity, by God's grace! We do not half understand how poor we really are being 6,000 years removed from holiness in the flesh. But, the character is most important. We may today possess the holiness of character that far surpasses that which Adam had before he fell. Then we shall have spiritual discernment that will enable Jesus to teach us more than He could otherwise! When we have "saving faith" we shall be as the woman who was willing to be called a dog if she could have a "crumb" which would fall off of the Master's table.

     The woman urged her case with increased earnestness, bowing at Christ’s feet, and crying, “Lord, help me.” Jesus, still apparently rejecting her entreaties, according to the unfeeling prejudice of the Jews, answered, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” This was virtually asserting that it was not just to lavish the blessings brought to the favored people of God upon strangers and aliens from Israel. This answer would have utterly discouraged a less earnest seeker. But the woman saw that her opportunity had come. Beneath the apparent refusal of Jesus, she saw a compassion that He could not hide. “Truth, Lord,” she answered, “yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” While the children of the household eat at the father’s table, even the dogs are not left unfed. They have a right to the crumbs that fall from the table abundantly supplied. So while there were many blessings given to Israel, was there not also a blessing for her? She was looked upon as a dog, and had she not then a dog’s claim to a crumb from His bounty?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2017, 07:41:02 AM »
Amen, Jim and Richard!!

But although Jesus did not reply, the woman did not lose faith. As He passed on, as if not hearing her, she followed Him, continuing her supplications. Annoyed by her importunities, the disciples asked Jesus to send her away. They saw that their Master treated her with indifference, and they therefore supposed that the prejudice of the Jews against the Canaanites was pleasing to Him. But it was a pitying Saviour to whom the woman made her plea, and in answer to the request of the disciples, Jesus said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Although this answer appeared to be in accordance with the prejudice of the Jews, it was an implied rebuke to the disciples, which they afterward understood as reminding them of what He had often told them,--that He came to the world to save all who would accept Him. 

Jesus was led step-by-step in seeking to save the lost sheep. His example we are to adopt. When we live by faith on Jesus and have all the fruits of the Spirit, we also will be sent to seek for the lost and find joy in winning those to Christ who hunger for His blessing. Let us go reach those who desire God's help--there are many more than we may realize in the world!!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2017, 03:50:19 AM »
What a joy to spend quality time with Jesus! By beholding Him, we are changed into His image from glory to glory, from character to character. I appreciate reading the gospel accounts in connection with The Desire of Ages, as I come to more fully appreciate the experience of Christ and the people that He was seeking to benefit. Thankfully, the fact that these precious truths are written down and easily accessible means that Jesus wants to bless us no less than the people who were walking the earth during His lifetime!

In reading Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30, I appreciate so much seeing how Jesus treated the woman whose daughter was demon-possessed. Jesus can heal all manner of disease--and He wants us to know that even mental illness today is something He can heal. He can lift depression, anxiety, fear, unbelief--He can heal us from all our diseases!

"The Saviour's visit to Phoenicia and the miracle there performed had a yet wider purpose. Not alone for the afflicted woman, nor even for His disciples and those who received their labors, was the work accomplished; but also 'that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.' John 20:31. The same agencies that barred men away from Christ eighteen hundred years ago are at work today. The spirit which built up the partition wall between Jew and Gentile is still active. Pride and prejudice have built strong walls of separation between different classes of men. Christ and His mission have been misrepresented, and multitudes feel that they are virtually shut away from the ministry of the gospel. But let them not feel that they are shut away from Christ. There are no barriers which man or Satan can erect but that faith can penetrate." {The Desire of Ages, page 403, paragraph 1}

The reason this truth is recorded is not just for them--it is for me--and it is for you--TODAY! We need a living experience with Jesus, a walk of continual faith that brings us into continual communion with our Heavenly Father through Christ by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I am so thankful for Jesus and for His power to heal, to save, and restore us into His loveliness of character. As we come to Him, we allow Jesus to receive His reward! After all, Jesus did not travel all the way to the border area of Phoenicia just to heal one woman's daughter--no--He came MUCH FARTHER! He came to this dark blot in the universe from the heavenly courts where all is light and glory and was born as our brother in Bethlehem, grew up and chose to always do the will of His Father and revealed the love of God to us. He died for us and is now ministering as our great High Priest, and I praise God that Jesus is coming again SO SOON! Let us look to Him and know that He came just for YOU! Yes, YOU! We have an infinite value to the heart of God. We have a unique purpose, and when we come to Christ just as we are--broken, sinful, and helpless, we allow Him to do the greatest miracle of all--to give us a new heart and mind (a new character) and clothe us with all of the fruits of the Spirit! Praise God for such INCREDIBLE love!!!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--43--Barriers Broken Down
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2017, 07:38:55 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean!  Jesus came to save even me!  It makes no difference where we came from, who we are, or how   bad we have been. He would have suffered and died even if only you were to be saved! What a God we serve!!

    Caste is hateful to God. He ignores everything of this character. In His sight the souls of all men are of equal value. He "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us." Without distinction of age, or rank, or nationality, or religious privilege, all are invited to come unto Him and live. "Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference." "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free." "The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the Maker of them all." "The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Acts 17:26, 27; Galatians 3:28; Proverbs 22:2; Romans 10:11-13.   


I like the way God inspired this statement: "In His sight the souls of all men are of equal value." What is equal? Not all are created to do the same thing in life. Not all are equal in position or wealth or knowledge. In heaven it is likewise. There are differing positions. So it is here on earth. Not all were able to enter into the Most Holy Place. Not all were able to enter into the Holy Place. So it is today. Even though all are of equal value before God, not all are equal in position or authority. There are rulers in this world because it is God's way. He never desired nations to have kings, but kings we have. And, they are to be obeyed as long as their laws do not conflict with the commandments of God. In the home, the father has the authority, even though all are of equal value in the eyes of God. God made man and woman different for a reason. It is easy to see when comparing the two. We do not see facial hair on a woman, and it is a shame to see long hair (waist length) on a man.

Culture is extolled in the world, but the world's ways are not God's ways. Let us place great value on the way that God has indicated we are to live, that glory might go to Him, and Him only. All are equal value, so let us treat others in this way. This we will do if we have Christ abiding in the heart.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.