A Night’s Journey (A Great Example of a Biblical Harmony )

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

(An excerpt from the free e-Booklet, The Jericho Experience, this is a lengthy Bble study)

“. . . A great example of a biblical harmony can be seen when we compare the storm(s) Jesus and his disciples went through on the Sea of Galilee, as are recorded in gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and we will look at the three accounts separately, starting in Matthew.

Matthew 8:23-27:
-23: And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
-24: And, behold, there arose {or there became} a great tempest in {or within}, the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
-25: And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
-26: And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
-27: But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

To help us distinguish the timing of this event from another related one that we will look at momentarily, let us first notice that the placement of these verses above were before Jesus had called the Twelve Apostles. They were first disciples, i.e., disciplined and committed followers; and then they were chosen as Apostles commencing from Matthew 10:1-2, onward, and so the disciples in the verses above were not yet the Apostles. Let us further note that Matthew was not with Jesus and the other disciples until Matthew 9:9, which was after the crossing and storm that we just quoted above from Matthew 8:23-27.

“And, behold, there arose a great tempest in {within}, the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves” (Matthew 8:24). The word tempest is the Greek word seismos and means a shaking; we get our English word seismic from this word. Unlike a storm that is caused from approaching winds and rains of a formidable weather system and intensifying as it approaches, a seismos is an earth-shattering commotion that emanates up from underground or from beneath the sea floor and is caused from the vibrating and shifting to and fro of the earth’s crust along its fault planes. In fact, everyplace this word seismos is used in the entire Bible it is always translated as an “earthquake” except here in Matthew 8:24 (See Matthew 24:7; 27:54; and 28:2). Almost certainly, the translators of Matthew were trying to help clarify the harmonies of another storm in Mark and Luke by translating this Greek word seismos into the English word tempest, when it is obviously clear that seismos should have been translated into the word, earthquake, just as it was translated properly twelve other times in the Bible.

This particular earthquake, or seismos, recorded in Matthew was significantly amplified by the use of the word great!

Now the phrase insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves is interesting because it shows us that Jesus was not in a hollowed out or an opened-decked ship filling up with water, but in the hold below (downstairs) safe from all the goings on above on deck and fast asleep during this earthquake, whereupon his disciples rushed into him, “and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish” (Matthew 8:25). They asked Jesus for help because their faith was literally shaken at that moment. “And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose” (Matthew 8:26).

Jesus first responds by questioning the fears of his disciples, and stating they combined have little faith, which, mind you, is some faith, but it is not a whole lot of faith. Then after this discussion on little faith Jesus arose, “and {then, he} rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:26).

I can just picture the stillness over the sea now peaceful and tranquil, and not only the environment was calm, but also the hearts and nervous systems of the disciples because the Physician of the heart was present and ministering to their immediate needs and fears, just as he is with us. So awesome must have been the contrast between the noise of the earthquake and swaying waters and then the complete silence of the sea that “the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him” (Matthew 8:27). The answer to What manner of man is this, is that he is perfect, and he is our personal friend and Savior!

When Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea, he worked two separate miracles. The calming of the sea that the earthquake stirred up into raging, topsy-turvy seas, Jesus rebuked as the first miracle. Miracle number two was the stilling of the wind. Of note is that the wind was not a windstorm of any kind; rather, the wind was whatever wind that happened to be blowing that night ― ceased.

The earthquake was over before Jesus actually woke up, but the aftermath of the tumultuousness still caused the ship to be covered with the waves and when Jesus ceased the wind and the sea, the night’s frights were over.

Let us now move over into the Gospel of Mark and look at a similar, though not identical event, as we just read in Matthew’s Gospel:

Mark 4:36-41:
-36: And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
-37: And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
-38: And he {Jesus} was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
-39: And he arose, rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
-40: And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
-41: And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Only with a hurried reading of these verses can one imagine this is the same story as we just looked at in Matthew’s Gospel, and the “harminators” (to coin a word), must be hoping that you will believe the two accounts are harmonized or their books will appear practically worthless. Although honestly they are not valueless, I use harmonies now and then to help me locate and study similar events that those books have produced and claimed to be identical. I should tell you that I have never seen a harmony that is completely accurate, but so long as we learn to separate truth from error, then those types of books do have something of value to offer. Often they are edited with great precision and care, and reveal inspiring details that we would perhaps miss on our own, and without a doubt, they contain valuable insights. However, the Word of God is our primary source to finding him who is the way, as the Scriptures are already synchronized to the nature and heart of our wonderful Savior.

“And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships” (Mark 4:36). They never sent away the multitude in Matthew’s Gospel as they did here in Mark. They took him (Jesus) into the ship, meaning the Apostles brought Jesus with them, while in Matthew’s Gospel, “his disciples followed him” into the ship (Matthew 8:23). Again, this is a difference in the order of events, plus here in Mark, there were also with him other little ships, but in Matthew’s account we read about one ship ― only.

“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full” (Mark 4:37). The Greek word for storm is laliaps meaning a squall, a tempest of wind and rain, a whirlwind or hurricane, but not a seismos, an earthquake, as we read in Matthew chapter 8. Now when someone attempts to make both the stormy tempest of wind and the earthquake into one and the same event, we are savvy and able to know the truthful and honest findings of the two separate passages at hand. Simply separating them brings clarity of thought.

To imply that the account in Matthew’s Gospel was an airborne storm just to synchronize it with Mark is only accepting someone’s hot air (Ephesians 2:2, 4:14), but it is not believing in the fresh air that is detailed in “Every Scripture is God-breathed” (II Timothy 3:16, The Amplified Bible **), of God’s perfect Word.

“And he {Jesus} was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38). Here the Apostles did not ask Jesus for any help whatsoever; as they had asked before in Matthew 8:25 pleading, Lord, save us! Rather, in this circumstance they accused Jesus, saying in essence, “Don’t you care that we are about to die” ― perish. This is so typical of many people, they read that God is their refuge from the storms of life (Isaiah 25:4), they say it, they admit it to all their friends, shout it out to their neighbors, and preach it from teaching pulpits. But when they really need spiritual strength, help, and guidance, they all too often fall apart, confessing that they have been let down ― abandoned or punished by God, when neither are true as wrong thinking and believing is what manifest such thoughts that bring such fears into fruition. It is truth that makes you free, not error, “(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee” (Deuteronomy 4:31).

Hebrews 13:5:
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

James 1:13:
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

“And he arose, rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4: 39–40). Notice in Mark that Jesus first arose while in Matthew’s account Jesus confronted the disciples unbelief before he arose (Matthew 8:26). The reason that Jesus first arose, rebuked the wind, and silenced the sea’s fury was because they were in much more dire need and in real jeopardy of sinking into the depths of the Sea of Galilee. Remember they were in an uncovered ship, and that ship was now full of water, and as well, the storm was still bearing its fury down upon them, and so the circumstances where much more calamitous.

In Mark, Jesus first rebukes the wind and calms the sea, and THEN he questions, Why are ye so fearful? Whereas in Matthew Jesus FIRST questions, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26). But in Mark, Jesus questions, how is it that ye have no faith?

In Matthew 8:26 Jesus points out that they have “little faith,” and there is a difference between having “no faith” and having a “little faith,” because with just a “little faith” one can believe (Matthew 6:30).

Jesus said, “If ye have faith as {small 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). But without faith, we can find no biblical promises to call to our aid in times of trouble and need.

In Mark, there was no faith – whatsoever – none to be seen, and thus, they had no faith to draw on in a moment of great terror.

Two Old Testament passage from the Amplified Bible come to mind:

Psalms 107:27-30 (The Amplified Bible): *
-27: They reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man and are at their wits’ end [all their wisdom has come to nothing].
-28: Then they cry {i.e., prayed} to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses.
-29: He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still.
-30: Then the men are glad because of the calm, and He brings them to their desired haven.

Proverbs 3:25-26 (The Amplified Bible): *
25: Be not afraid of sudden terror and panic, nor of the stormy blast or the storm and ruin of the wicked when it comes [for you will be guiltless],
26: For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger].

Unbelief and fear is the very reason why they accused Jesus of not caring about their immediate plight in Mark’s Gospel. Also, this is the reason they “feared exceedingly” (Mark 4:41), but in Matthew 8:27 they “marveled”; these are totally opposing emotions.

Now we will look at a comparable situation to Matthew and Mark in the Gospel of Luke to see if this third accounting lines up with either of the first two accounts, or if this Gospel reveals a third crossing.

We are still looking for Jesus who is the way and the more harmony that we can glean, the greater we will be able to recognize the perfection of both the Word of God and of His Son (John 1:14).

Luke 8:22-25:
-22: Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
-23: But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
-24: And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
-25: And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

The Gospel of Luke, even on the surface appears to be a record of the same night’s epic as we just read in Mark. If so, then combining the two recordings can only help supplement as well as harmonize the two accounts, adding supportive information to balance the twofold story God wanted us to understand. Plus, if the two recordings are about the same crossing, then this will help set apart Matthew’s detailed account to being one of a separate voyage altogether.

Now if Mark and Luke are truly about the same occurrence, the identical time, and the precise place ― then this would be a true, biblical harmony that combines at least two Gospel accounts together, unlike the Jericho story, which was a continuing event seen from the Gospels.

In Luke 6:13 we read, “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.” This verse in Luke is chronologically set before the verses above on the lake and the storm from Luke 8:22-25, so that when Jesus was on that ship, his Apostles were with him. Plus, Luke 6:15 showed the Apostle Matthew present, whereas during the earthquake Matthew was unknown to Jesus and not present. Recall in Matthew’s Gospel, the earthquake happened before Jesus’ disciples were called to be his Apostles, further cementing the truth that there are at least two separate crossings on the Sea of Galilee from two different passages of Scripture and two unrelated times and events.

Now in Luke, we do not read “And there were also with him other little ships” like we read in Mark 4:36, but we also do not read anything that would dispute this addition, so if this is the same account, then Mark just reveals a detail that will perfectly fit without disputing anything Luke would reveal. “But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy” (Luke 8:23). In Matthew, the earthquake came up from the sea floor, but this storm came down. The Greek word for storm is laliaps, the same Greek word we read in Mark, and even though Mark does not say the storm came down as Luke does, Mark brought our attention to the rising seas, saying, “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship (Mark 4:37), thus filling the ship up with water as it was an uncovered ship without a hold beneath as we read the Gospel of Matthew. Is not the Word of God so precisely exhilarating when we observe how identical stories can augment and add to one another?

“But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy” (Luke 8:23). This flows with Mark’s account, but Luke also adds the word jeopardy to express the urgency of the sinking situation the Apostles were in, as this story still agrees with Mark without any contradictions.

“And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish” (Luke 8:24). Again, they do not ask Jesus for any help, as Mark also showed. “Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm” (Luke 8:24). This also coincides with Mark, that Jesus first arose and rebuked both the wind and the sea, making two miracles as Jesus did in Matthew’s Gospel, and thus Luke adds the words and they ceased (though we should note that in all we now have four miracles on the sea of Galilee and two separate voyages).

“And he said unto them, Where is your faith? (Luke 8:25). This is further testimony that these are the identical account that Mark reported, because the Apostles not only did not have any faith, but Jesus had to ask, where did it go, Where is your faith? It was blown away, gone out to sea, and dissipated out into the four winds. “And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him” (Luke 8:25). Here Luke adds the Apostles being afraid wondered, Mark includes they “feared exceedingly” (Mark 4:41), wonder and exceeding fear, what a mix of emotions to go through, what a relief it must have been to finally pass through this unharmed.

We can easily follow along with the two accounts of Mark and Luke as they continue to expand in the support of each other. Each additional verse contributes more colorful details while allowing the account to become vibrant and without error, as they help open up our understanding of what happened on that terrifying, blustery night.

This story is not over, there is so much more that we can learn from them, but let us read down a little further in the two identical accounts from Luke and Mark and see where they went, and what happened, and then we will go back to Matthew and bring out a few more details for you that are enlightening.

Luke 8:26 reads, “And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes which is over against Galilee.” The country of the Gadarenes is located at the southeastern borders of the Sea of Galilee, and extending over to a geographical area approximately six miles southeast from the Sea of Galilee (inland to the city of Gradara), and directly east of where the Jordan River exits down to the Dead Sea. Mark 5:1 also reads, “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.” In both of these accounts, Jesus heals one possessed man, and both descriptions divulge the same story, each adding separate details that combined make a complete narrative (See Mark 5:1-17, and Luke 8:27-37).

Now in Matthew 8:28, we will read about a different story and landing, “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes {notice the place we read in Mark and Luke was the Gadarenes, not the Gergesenes} there met him two possessed with devils.” The Gergesenes and Gadarenes are similar looking words with nearly the same number of syllables, but they are not identical words or the same place, and there were two possessed men in Matthew, but only one possessed man is seen in both Mark and Luke. The reason for this difference is (again) because this is a completely separate story and place altogether than the ones we read about in Mark and Luke.

Gergesenes is not a town but an area of small towns or seaside hamlets and villages located midway along the eastern banks of the Sea of Galilee north of the country of the Gadarenes, while the country of the Gadarenes is further south and east.

The Gergesenes is the reading of the vast amount of Manuscripts left to us (TCB Page 1325***), while there has been a longtime movement to merge the words Gergesenes and Gadarenes for the simple purpose of forcing the harmony of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Some scholars combine both places to read, “Gadarenes-Gerasenes” as though Matthew, Mark, and Luke actually meant both places (ZEB Vol. 2. Page 623****), but this attempt only leads away from him who is the way, and further away from the great truth of Jesus’ life and the two separate miracles as we learn of the very works sake, with the two separate crossings we have conclusively observed.

We have some similar-sounding towns in Maine such as Nobleboro and Waldoboro that are in close proximity to each other, but no one would even consider combining these towns into one! And, anyone living in the midcoast region can find Waldo! Just as true, the writers of the Gospels also knew the difference between Gergesenes and Gadarenes. Even with the stretch of our imaginations, we cannot honestly meld both regions into one or both separate stories into one, because they do not add up to the identical occurrence or place, so let us just allow them to be the way that coincides with the written truth – and – then, believe what is written in the Word.

Years ago, I was visiting a good friend of mine who lived on Staten Island in New York, and as I was leaving the city on my trip back up to the Portland, Maine area, I had planned on traveling as far up as Massachusetts before stopping for gas. It seemed to me that the night’s drive through New York went on for a very long time. The same scenery appeared to go on for miles and miles without changing as my gas gauge began running lower, so I stopped for some more fuel, and I asked the attendant, “How many more miles before I am out of New York?” and he started laughing. “What is so funny?” I questioned, and he replied “Well, you are almost in New Hampshire; this is the last stop before you leave Massachusetts.”

Perhaps I was just impatient and wanted to get home as quick as I could and I never bothered to read any of the road signs. On the road that night from New York, I could not tell when one city stopped and the next one began because I never saw a break in all the night lights and I felt a little silly when the attendant chuckled, but at least I was almost home. At the time, all I was concerned about is making sure that I stayed on Route One, which would lead me right home and to my front door. This is like the Word of God which confirms the truth; if the searcher will only look at all the road signs clearly marked throughout the Bible, they will see the very distinct path that leads directly to Jesus Christ, and further up to our future home in heaven.

Many of the harmonies and other Bible study aids and helps out there often do not delineate the signposts that distinguish the differences between Gergesenes and Gadarenes; they are all too hurried to follow through with the minute details. Thus, they do not take the time to notice if there is any difference between one or two crossings, or one or two blind men at Jericho, let alone four blind men, so they simply overlap them with jargon that confuses the subject for many a Bible student. Still, they trudge on through the divine narration and integrate the places, the towns, the people, and the separate events into unclear harmonies, and that at the expense of biblical illumination.

Have you seen the game that is shown on children’s television shows, or written in children’s puzzle books that you often find in doctor’s or dentist’s waiting rooms, where we see three or four objects or cartoons of people and one of them is different in one way or another? They then ask, sometimes in songs, “one of these is not the same; can you find the different one?” And you know the kids find the different one right away; they see, for instance, the puppet with only one eye, while the others have two eyes. They see the character that is wearing a blue and red striped sweater, when the others have on a solid red one. When they look even closer, they see that the one in the striped sweater also has only one eyebrow, only one shoe, only one button, etcetera. But when children grow up and go into the ministry, for some unknown reason they forget the lessons they learned as children. When it comes to the Bible, they forget what they learned in kindergarten and cannot see the one that is different, as if their common sense along with the rules of language and structure vanish from their heart’s foundation.

Matthew 18:4, and 19:14:
-4: Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
-14: But Jesus said, Suffer {allow} little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

I am certain that when Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote (for God, II Peter 1:20-21), they were certain about the places that wrote about, and as well, I do not believe they were trying to confuse the harminators or anyone else for that matter. You know, to me it often appears that sometimes people are more concerned with getting the minutest details correct when studying the confusing scrolls and writings and ramblings of the imaginations we have from such false prophets as Nostradamus and others, than when they are studying the true prophecy of all eternity. Jesus warned us about such false prophets: Matthew 24:23-26 reads, “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ {a messiah}, or there {he is}; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before {John 16:1-4}. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers {“store chamber” where blessings and rewards (from God) are given out (See Mathew 6:6 ― BUT}; believe it not.”

Luke 11:42:
But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint {sweet scents, used in biblical times to spread on the floors of synagogues, and in their homes} and rue {plants} and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment {justice} and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

There is a similar verse to this one in Matthew 23:32 and guess what? The harmonies combine the two verses, although this one in Luke is addressed to only the Pharisees, while Matthew’s is addressed to both Scribes and Pharisees, and was delivered at a different time, and is not an identical verse, or spoken for the same reasons. When Jesus used the word Pharisees, he literally was referring to people who conduct themselves in a strict manner and are bogged down in details that confuse them (II Timothy 3:7), and unfortunately, they are missing the true light that is trying to shine through.

Jesus, in Luke 11:42, was teaching how to receive the greatest blessings in life, and that people need a balance in their lives so as not to go so far overboard and forget the simplest matters of life like true spiritual justice. These biblical truths come to us when we simply walk in love and enjoy the wonderful details discovered in the Word.

In Matthew 7:14 Jesus said “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” The way is Jesus Christ and he leads the few to an enjoyable life and the fullness of God.

The Bible never instructs believers to make harmonies out of the Gospels, but to see and acknowledge the way and then walk with him who walks with God.

Why are many of the events in the Gospels so similar? That is a very good question and I do NOT have all the answers. I would like to point out though that they only appear alike until one’s heart opens up in a sincere search to know his or her Lord and Savior, and then they become very different subjects that are detailed in meticulous ways that thrill and uplift the believing heart for guidance and daily inspiration. For then God in Christ begins pouring understanding into those hearts, and fills them with the warm light of the fullness of God.

God could have inspired a thousand Gospels or more that would be so completely different that no one would ever be able to confuse any one of them with another. After all, God has made no two snowflakes alike and no two people are the same, so our heavenly Father knows how to make things different. You may have noticed the countless variations of the color green in a forest; it is a most amazing array that He provided for our blessing. Have you seen how the morning or evening skies change into an infinite number of pastel colors ever so slightly with every moment and with every blink of our eyes? Still there are no two sunrises or sunsets alike. These are because our God is multifaceted, and so is the detailed life of Jesus that we are able to discover from the Gospels.

God certainly had enough material to work with to make many more Gospels, as John points out to us in his Gospel. “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25).

I say, let us begin by being thankful that God supplied us with only four short Gospels, and that you and I are some of the fortunate few who now know about the two separate lake crossings and how many blind men Jesus actually healed in his travels in the region of Jericho.

John 20:30-31:
-30: And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
-31: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Jesus did so much more in the presence of his disciples that is not recorded; he had done many more signs than what is written for us in the four Gospels, and still I propose that it would take more time than there is left in this world to actually see and understand all Jesus had done from what God revealed for us in those four little Gospels. For the Scriptures are alive, “they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63), and they are ever rejuvenating and growing in the believer’s heart. What is revealed to us is as the Apostle wrote, written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Hebrews 4:2 records, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” One can spend a lifetime, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7). When folks do not add their believing faith with what is written in the Word of God, then it is absolutely possible to imagine almost anything under the sun, but heavenly truth will remain veiled to them (See I Corinthians 1:18–31; and II Corinthians 3:12-17).

When we supply our own believing faith, we effortlessly will be “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), and then Jesus helps perfect our faith, for Jesus completes our believing faith.

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17), but when it is heard out of concert, read distorted from books, and preached inaccurately, then the Word cannot bring understanding, and the inherent profit is hindered from giving rest unto one’s soul, “For we which have believed {the Word} do enter into rest” (Hebrews 4:3).

In John 5:38 Jesus said, “And ye have not his {God’s} word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.” Believing in God’s Word ― is believing in Jesus Christ, and therefore, believing in Jesus Christ is believing in God’s Word, this is how the preached Word becomes mixed with faith and then effortlessly the living profit in the Word springs to life in one’s inner soul.

Matthew 11:27-30:
-27: All things {Jesus said} are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
-28: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
-29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
-30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus “saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed (John 20:29).

Today, we do not literally see Jesus; we have not walked and talked with him on the road to Emmaus or heard his teachings ― live.

We have not seen his miracles, but with our believing faith we have traveled with him, we have sailed across the Sea of Galilee twice, and we have seen him open the eyes of the blind on the waysides and highway of Jericho, and we have experienced these by our believing faith that Jesus performed such amazing miracles. Therefore, we certainly are blessed, because blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed!

We, as well as those in the Gospels, have been confronted with our faith to believe the Word. Jesus questions, where is your faith? This is still being asked, and is still a challenge from God’s living Word to us in grace. Jesus said learn of me, and have we? Have we found the promised rest unto our souls through Christ? Is our faith lost in the fog, carried away out into the storm and shaken up by the skepticism of the crowds, or is our believing faith being inspired to grow in the knowledge of the author and finisher of our faith, and are we walking with him who is the way as we enjoy the peaceful rest that Jesus gives to our soul?

The Bible is figuratively our burning bush, like Moses who saw the bush and heard the Word of God – the Bible is our evidence of spiritual matters – it is the connection point between that which is physical and that which is truly spiritual.

I Corinthians 2:9-10 records, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep {the spiritual depths of the true} things of God.” Through following Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, we are lead to the way that directs our hearts into the realities of our heavenly Father.

I Corinthians 1:18:
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

The preaching of the cross is to preach the details of all that the cross of Christ made available to us, and is plainly seen in the Gospels as we continue learning more and more about our risen Savior and our faith is our window into the promises of God.

The word perish in I Corinthians 1:18 relates to those who have yet to be saved (but does not mean they never will be saved), as many unsaved people do think that the Bible is nothing but a bunch of foolishness or a book of condemnation; nevertheless, to those who are saved, they have begun to grasp the wonderfulness contained in the depths of Word of God.

Whenever we believers begin understanding the Scriptures, it is because the spiritual power of God is at work in our inner hearts, and because Christ is enlightening and is inspiring within, “Christ {is} the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (I Corinthians 1:24).

Most assuredly, we have been drawn in closer to our Lord and Savior’s love through acquiring an understanding of the Gospels, and we are, as Jesus said to Thomas, blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

II Corinthians 9:15 cheers, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” The essence of the words unspeakable gift is that knowing and walking with God is beyond words, still faith is our connection to him, and we certainly may be thankful to have been able to spiritually see Jesus in the Word of life.

I Peter 1:8:
Whom {Jesus Christ} having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Hebrews 4:12 informs us “the word of God is quick, and powerful” and this can be translated as, “The Word of God is living energy.” The Amplified Bible** renders this to read as follows, “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective].”

Whenever there is a true harmony between different sections within the books of the Bible, they will never run at cross purposes or subtract from each other, but rather will highlight as well as supplement the details of divine light. They always will bring one closer to the Bible’s intrinsic subject ― Jesus Christ, who is not only the way, but also the complete tapestry of the truth. . .”

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE, Old Testament copyright (c) 1965, 1989 by the Zondervan Corporation.
Used by permission.

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission

***(TCB) Companion Bible, The. Reprint, Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 1974.

****(ZEB) Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, 5 vols.
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1972.

This Is the Day Which the LORD Hath Made; We Will Rejoice and Be Glad (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

According to the Bible, each and every day is a day to rejoice and be glad because the LORD made this day for men and women, for boys and girls, for young and old, and for you and me.

Psalms 118:24:
This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

The Word of God encourages us to rejoice and to be glad in this day. Recognizing God throughout the day brings great gladness and joy into our lives. When we walk with God and recognize that He is with us, being grateful simply for the air we breathe, then we will also realize that the Lord indeed made this day for us. The Psalm continues:

Psalms 118:25:
Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.

Save now is referring to this day that the LORD hath made, and in this day, the Psalmist is beseeching the LORD to send now prosperity. This passage is referring to the necessities that we need today, and thanking God for those things that we now have. Then, beyond the basics, what further abundance would bless our lives today? When we recognize that God indeed cares for us and we trust in Him, then the daily prosperity that we receive will cause our hearts to rejoice as it draws gladness out from our very souls.

Every person has different circumstances and daily needs, but God can and does care for each of us individually. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

God promises in His Word that He will meet our needs, “but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things {that we need to sustain life ― mentally, physically, and spiritually} shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). The true blessings of God come to us according to our believing His Word. By looking to God’s healing Word, and by prayer offered in the name of Jesus Christ, and with genuine thankfulness from the heart, we may also look for and expect that our God will be there for us with daily blessings, and we can in thankfulness recognize that His blessings have become reality for us.

John 6:11:
And Jesus took the loaves {5 loaves of bread}; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down {about five thousand people}; and likewise of the fishes {2 small fishes} as much as they would.

When Jesus gave thanks, he was asking for God’s blessings on what they had, that the blessing would go a very, very long way ― and it certainly did. This is the power of true prayer with the giving of thanks to God in prayer.

Many people “say grace” before meals but the Bible says to “give thanks” to God (in advance) for His blessings and grace upon us. Grace comes from God to man, thanks goes from man to God. In fact, did you know that the Bible never instructs believers (ever) to “say grace,” but rather His Word encourages us to enjoy and accept His graces that have been freely given to us in Christ and to give thanks, always ― even today, for this is the day in which the LORD made for you and me to rejoice and to be glad. Learning to enjoy an attitude of thankfulness in our prayer life softens the heart, squelches greed, and humbly accepts the grace of God without reservation for His abundance to begin flowing our way.

In John 6:11 above, Jesus did not see any lack in the limited amount of the food he had, but he thanked God to do miraculous things with the little they had for a multitude of people, for giving prosperity to those for whom Jesus was responsible, and everybody thankfully had as much as they would. This was Jesus living the true meaning of send now prosperity, as he was beseeching God with the giving of thanks for His care upon them this day. The place where this miracle took place became known as “. . . the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks” (John 6:23b). It is in our thankfulness for what we have that allows God to truly work miraculous things in our own lives, today and every day.

I want to tell you a story about a young man who was down on his luck, out of money, and very hungry. Someone explained to him about being thankful to God in his prayer life, and so he prayed, thanking God in Jesus Christ’s name for his little twenty-five cent bag of potato chips to somehow fill him up (about ten or twelve chips). Then he began to eat as he was reading his Bible; about a half hour later, he looked down into the bag and realized that the chips had miraculously filled his famished appetite. He saw a half of a bag of chips still in the bag, and he uttered, “gee, thanks God, I have had enough” as he then ate the last few chips! I believe this happened for him because he thanked God for the little he had. This man was blessed by God in order that he would rejoice and be glad on that day. This man did not just sit around waiting for a miracle to happen, rather he simply was thankful to God and gave his need to Him in prayer, and God became his sufficiency.

“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it,” in the Hebrew Text, Psalms 118:24 poses this question: Will we rejoice and be glad in it?” The answer is, yes, yes when we recognize this day’s Maker, for then rejoicing and gladness in this day bubbles up from within! Note the ending word in the verse is “it,” and when we realize that This is the day which the LORD hath made, then the “it” becomes HIM, because we become glad to be in and with HIM!

When we believe: This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will be living a lifestyle in daily thankfulness and we will rejoice and be glad in HIM, not just for one day in the year but for always. If we have food to eat and a place to sleep, we will have every good reason to be thankful today for the blessings bestowed upon us, and our God will give us great expectations for all our tomorrows.

I Corinthians 15:57:
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 2:14a:
Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ.

II Corinthians 9:15:
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Hebrews 13:5 (The Amplified Bible):*
Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

Philippians 4:6 (The Amplified Bible):*
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

Colossians 2:7; and 3:15 (The Amplified Bible):*
-7: Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.
-15: And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

* Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permissoin.

Water (The Elixir of Life), Wine (Gladdening the Heart of Man) and Milk (The Spiritual Nourishment)

Isaiah 55:1:
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Water: And he {Jesus} said unto me {John}, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely– Revelation 21:6. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely– Revelation 22:17.  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I {Jesus Christ} shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life– John 4:14.

Wine:  In Psalms 104:15, we read, And wine that maketh glad the heart of man. Wine according to Scripture was given to make the heart glad which is certainly contrary to some beliefs. I have heard alcoholic beverages referred to as liquid entertainment, but of course, excessive drinking is never best (I Timothy 5:23). The wine of Holy Communion initiates a significant milestone event, representing the shedding of Christ’s blood for our sins (Matthew 26:27-28), and as our sins are truly forgiven, our hearts can absolutely and truly be so very glad, and quite thankful for our benefactor who gave so much.

Milk: As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious– I Peter 2:2-3. There is genuine milk within every ounce of God’s scrumptious, healing Word! God is so wonderful to us in so many abounding ways that are, at times, beyond our comprehension, yet we may assuredly know that we have received from God (II Corinthians 9:15, I Peter 1:8). God’s desire for us is that we take Him at His Word, and allow Him and His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, into our lives. Imagine how many spiritually anorexic people there are in the world who are famished for lack of the fulfilling Word, and even in Christendom many are starving themselves, when all along access to the table of life is bountifully prepared with the fulfilling benefit of the nurturing Scriptures.

In Isaiah 55:1 the waters represent our eternal life; the wine represents our complete forgiveness of our sins, giving us daily gladness to enjoy life, and milk represents the wonderful Word of God.” ~LMJ~

Unspoken Cheers – Apprehended

“II Corinthians 9:15 cheers, Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. The essence of the words unspeakable gift is that knowing and walking with God is beyond words, but we certainly may be thankful to have been able to spiritually see Jesus in the Word of life. Whom {Jesus Christ} having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory- I Peter 1:8.” ~LMJ~

God’s Blessings

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The greatest things in life are free. A man may sell his soul, but he cannot buy eternal life, peace, joy, true inner happiness, or love. These are all gifts of God! We can stand in total awe of these gifts, and thoroughly enjoy them, for they far surpass any monetary value; as Philippians 4:19 reads “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The richest people on earth are those who have their needs supplied by God, day to day from the riches of His glory. Conversely, the people with large wallets may not be experiencing all the gifts and blessings of God in their lives. The Scripture in I Peter 1:8 informs us that we can “rejoice with joy unspeakable”; or joy beyond explanation, and this joy is an inner quality of life which is a spiritual manifestation of having God in Christ in our hearts while we are receiving and enjoying heavenly, God-given blessings.

II Corinthians 9:15:
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Although we cannot fully explain our inner joy and the unspeakable gift of God, we certainly can enjoy realizing unmistakable revelations of having these divine gifts. As we begin experiencing the true treasures of life, recognizing from whence they come and Who gave them, then we will be totally unfettered to give freely from our heartfelt inner joy and thankfulness to God.

God desires that we receive and grasp the realities of our heavenly blessings and treasures which He alone freely gives to men and women who are meek and humble to His healing Word and will.

Acts 20:35b-36:
-35b: . . . {The Apostle Paul said that we are} to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
-36:  And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.

The word blessed means to be happy or to have happiness. These words that Jesus spoke were remembered and talked about by the believers and are not recorded in the Gospels, only here in the Book of Acts. The commentaries have always assumed that verse 36 was narrated back to the Apostle Paul who knelt down and prayed with those he was teaching. However, from the Greek Text verse 36 is a continuation of the words and action of Jesus: “it is more blessed to give than to receive, and when he {Jesus} had thus spoken, he {Jesus} kneeled down, and prayed with them all.” This completes and fulfills the true understanding that Jesus was explaining in the Gospels, and because of the prayer they were experiencing happiness, and thus, they were expressing inner thankfulness to God. We can find nothing to suggest that the Apostle Paul did not also follow through with Christ’s example and prayed with those whom he was teaching in Acts 20. “More blessed {happy} to give than to receive” does NOT negate the blessings of receiving, rather it is in reference to the more we give thanks to God, the more we then can receive to then have to give again out from what He gives.

God always wants His children to be happy, and as we learn to discover His true blessings upon our lives, then happiness follows, and the first, the very first thing that we do is to return thankfulness to God. “. . . a threefold cord is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12b).” The threefold cord as it concerns “giving and receiving” is that God first gives divine spiritual treasures to man, secondly man in return gives thankfulness, honor, and respect back to God, then thirdly God again returns to man the spiritual blessings in physical abundant realities. This is a threefold cord that God will honor and continue to reward. This is what Jesus and Paul were explaining by teaching and by example. “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee” (Deuteronomy 16:17). See how the blessing came first before any giving is even mentioned? This gives us a spiritual mindset on giving based on receiving blessings.

Psalms 146:5:
Happy {there is that word again} is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

Let us look at Jacob in Genesis who sought God for his help and who spoke to Him in a way that at first blush would seem to be a little rude if not downright blasphemous (in the way some think, believe, and teach on tithing these days). Nevertheless, what he said to God was in fact following the theme of what we just read about from Acts and Deuteronomy, above, and the theme of God’s Blessings that we are looking at in this study and the reason for Jacob’s happiness that could be ours as well. “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If {IF, IF} God will be with me, and {IF You} will keep me in this way that I go, and {IF You} will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then {THEN} shall the LORD be my God” (Genesis 28:20-21). Wow, really? Yes ― really, IF God would, then he would ― and God did, and he did.

Jacob went to the source of abundance, “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof” (Psalms 24:1), he went directly to the LORD God, Who “giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18) and said IF YOU SUPPLY ― THEN I WILL GIVE. “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22); note, the only thing given here is a prayer, and a prayer is simply believing with thankfulness to God. It is from this request and understanding that Jacob not only lived an abundant life, but he concluded “of all that thou {God} shalt give me {of all things, whatsoever he asked in prayer and received} I will surely give the tenth {of what You give me} unto thee” (Genesis 28:22). See a Bible Byte study titled: Prayer with Thankfulness, which sheds light on this very subject of receiving from God in light of verses such as Matthew 21:22.

Psalms 46:7:
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Jacob would contribute only after his receiving, and his life was indeed blessed; he was praying and being honest with God and being true to himself for the prospects of his inner happiness. Since the God of Jacob is still our refuge in today’s world, should we not want to learn from him and follow his example and belief system? Jacob indeed was a principled man and wanted to know why it is more blessed to give than it is to receive, and as he received from God first, he then realized it is also blessed to give in return from out the blessings he received (because they were not his in the first place making his giving much easier, it is like playing with house money). This is the reasoning behind cheerful giving (II Corinthians 9:6-9) because one will manifest happiness! “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help.”

It is not wrong to think as Jacob did — it is right to think as Jacob thought, it is not wrong to behave as Jacob did — it is right to behave as Jacob behaved, it is not wrong to believe as Jacob did — it is right to believe as Jacob believed, it is not wrong to say what Jacob did — it is right to say to God what Jacob said, in fact, God said of him “Jacob have I loved” (Romans 9:13). Furthermore, God did not curse Jacob for saying what he said, but blessed him. “Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal” (Ezekiel 18:25), in other words God’s way is right and Jacob proved to himself that God’s way was very equal and abundantly pleasing to him. Man’s way is to give first, God’s way is to receive first; man’s way is unequal, God’s way is equal. Man’s way is unbalanced and although God’s way may at first seem unbalanced and narrow-minded in man’s mind, it is actually perfectly balanced, as Jesus stated “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). I ask, have we found God’s way, His equal way? God’s way turns the tables, so-to-speak, and rights one’s course into true godliness, “godliness is profitable {PROFITABLE} unto all things” (I Timothy 4:6).

Truth (which makes one free,― John 8:32) purposely inspires the joy of giving from within the heart; error drains the joy of giving from the heart to become an uninspired, compulsive and legalistic function.

“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). Sacrifice and burnt offerings were based on giving something in the prospect of getting something (i.e., a quid pro quo/tradeoff), while God desires mercy and knowledge which assures more. In fact, Jesus said of Hosea 6:6 “go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13). Mercy means the withholding back of that which is deserved, like a punishment and condemnation for a past sin, while God gives something so much grander, such as total forgiveness, love, mercy, peace, grace, and an abundant life; “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalms 84:11). These kinds of treasures we can come to know and experience and receive when we understand that it is He Who gives us not simply a tradeoff but more abundance because He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). A nutshell version: When your giving is a sacrifice, it is not what our God of love intended. “Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6:7-8).

Who would not want to walk humbly with God and know for certain that He is blessing them personally simply because He loves them? “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn {called} thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). Who would not want to give from their personal God-given blessings with which He has blessed them? We receive blessings in order that we may enjoy an abundant life that comes directly from the ebb and flow of receiving from God and therein we are enabled to enjoy a heart of giving without having shortage or making sacrifices. From a biblical perspective, Jacob’s spiritual joy and physical happiness opened up to him the flowing simplicity of godly abundance, and is the foundation of discovering why it is more blessed to give than to receive because it is the key to more of what is free from God.

It certainly is easier to give out of what God blesses one with than to give out of what you have to start with and just may need to live on in the first place. When God becomes your God as He became Jacob’s, then the true perspective of life with God in your life will become living and real and life becomes a joy worth singing about. It is more blessed to give and receive Jacob’s way, which just happens to be God’s way! Yes, this is why it is thankworthy to pray with happiness and thank our heavenly Father. Jesus and Paul never taught “with effort you have worked, so freely give,” rather they taught God’s children, “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).

Psalms 81:1:
Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

When we, the children of God, live our lives in this perfect harmony of receiving and giving, then the greatest treasures in life become ever more available and real to us. Then God’s Blessings continue coming in and we can experience genuine spiritual happiness living our lives in all the joy God originally intended.

Psalms 35:27-28:
-27: Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
-28: And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

“We are justified, not by giving anything to God . . . but by receiving from God, what Christ hath done for us.” ~William Gurnall~

For more on this topic, see: The Seeds of Authentic Abundance (What Is Not in the Scriptures Is so Often Just as Important as What Is in the Scriptures!) and The Fullness of God (The First Principle)