Everything He Does is Wonderful–Mark 7 Final

It is impossible to keep silent when God does amazing things in your life. The Gospels are chocked full of stories about Jesus healing, freeing, providing and saving what was a hopeless race of people. Most of the time, when Jesus did these amazing things, he did not want notoriety for them. His goal was simply to reveal God’s true nature to the people he loved.  Unfortunately, when God is doing amazing things, notoriety is sure to follow.  Peter said it best, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” His greatness is so unique, when people catch a glimpse, they want others to know about it.

That is still the way it is.  Everything God does in our lives is awesome.  He molds and shapes us.  He conforms us into the image of God.  We walk, think and act in a way that draws people’s attention to God.  We do not necessarily wave a flag that says GOD IS AWESOME—but, our lives in good and bad times reflect his peace and power in us. When people see that, they want to be a part and they want others to enjoy it as well.  In Romans 1:16 Paul says,  ”I am not ashamed of the Gospel, it is the power of God for anyone that believes”. I am so thankful for all he has provided and done in my life—I cannot help but tell others about him.

God Bless You

31 Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns.[l] 32 A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him.

33 Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue. 34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Be opened!” 35 Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly!

36 Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news. 37 They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.”

 

 

God’s Scraps are Great–Mark 7 continued

Jesus was not a racist. He came to show the world the true nature of God.  It was a challenge, though.  Only one group of people faithfully acknowledged him throughout history—the Jewish people.  So he was born and raised Jewish.  He ministered to the people of Israel.  So when a Gentile woman sought his assistance, he was finally able to reveal the true difference between the old and new covenant—The old was a national covenant while the new was a personal one.  Jesus came to reveal God to individuals, not people groups.  So he showed love to Jews and Gentiles alike.  That was a great hope for the world and a great confusion for the Jews.

Our joy is that he came to seek and save the lost which includes us in whole and part.  We simply must, as the gentile woman did, believe him and trust him.  It is the personal faith in his ability to save us, compete us and lead us that is the basis for his ministry.  If we lose sight that he is specifically interested in our lives, victories, defeats and needs, then we are no different than those that worship the created things and not the creator.  He is awesome and loves us for who and whose we are.

God Bless You

 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre.[i] He didn’t want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn’t keep it a secret. 25 Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil[j] spirit, 26 and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter.

Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, 27 Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews.[k] It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

28 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.”

29 “Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.

Devotion–a Heart Thing–Mark 7 part 1

For God it has never been about the pretense. God has spent the entire time trying to teach us that he is most interested in what is happening in our heart.  Keeping a list of do’s and don’ts is easier for people because they can check things off as completed rather than continually submit to the leadership of God.  Often, when our heart is committed to God, the do’s and don’ts are rarely an issue, but the reverse is not true—If we are focused on the do’s and don’ts are the focus—then self assurance and pride often at the center of a person’s heart.

In our lives, we need to not only examine our actions but also our attitudes.  Until we are living with an attitude of submission, our actions are not necessarily an indicator of our walk with God. God calls us to seek him first and seek a heart of righteousness—then all the other things will be added to you.  We have to focus on our submission to his leadership and then relax as we honor him with our actions.

God Bless You

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.[h]

17 Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. 18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)

20 And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

 

Mark 6 part 4–Mind if I Step In??

Jesus needed his time with the Father.  I say needed because like food, his fellowship with the Father was vital for his spiritual survival.  The disciples forged ahead and found themselves in another hopeless situation; alone, independent of Jesus–and wondering what to do.  Then along comes Jesus—WALKING across the lake.  Mark’s version is sort of funny—He says that Jesus was simply walking by, not intending to stop. But, as it terrified his disciples, he changed his plan and hopped into the boat.  In Christ like fashion, when he joined them, there was peace in the midst of the chaos and calm in the midst of the storm.  It is noteworthy, that Mark says they were hard-hearted and did not understand the significance of the feeding of the masses.

Before, I judge them, I have to examine my own life.  How many amazing things has God done to keep me pressing on.  Provision, protection, power and miracles have filled my life and the life of my family.  Yet, on any given bad day, I am as likely to try to row against the waves and storms on my own–independent of Jesus.  He will allow it and simply pass by—The great news is, however, that if I am willing to cry out, he is willing to hop in and take over, calming the fear and storm; bringing order to my chaos.  The warning here is to not miss the point of the amazing wonders in our lives.  Jesus simply wants us to allow him to lead guide and direct our paths.

Help me, Lord to allow you to captain my boat—

God Bless You

Food for Thought–Mark 6 part 3

It was a great teaching moment. The disciples had been out in the land teaching, preaching and healing people.  They now returned to Jesus and brought with them a crowd.  Jesus saw the crowd and began teaching them (See the Sermon on the Mount). As the day drew to evening, the disciples and the crowd grew hungry.  Jesus used that moment to show the disciples and the crowd God’s economy.  5 loaves (really more like sandwich roles) and 2 fish became a feast for thousands. There, as the disciples watched, Jesus provided the most basic of needs to a group that really expected nothing.

In our lives, God does the same today. As we follow him, he uses the most ordinary resources and the most opportune times to teach us how amazing and gracious he is.  He does not make spectacles—he does not hire Hollywood, no, he uses ordinary people and the most basic resources so that we can be assured it is him that does the miraculous.  God realizes that many that see such miracles become expectant for the provision and forget the purpose.  That is why he seeks those that will walk by faith and not simply look for miracles.  As we walk with him, he calls us to make disciples—Matt 28:18-20.  To do that, we must believe he is God and trust he can protect and provide our needs.  Watch—As you do, God will show you as he did the apostles, how amazing he really is!

God Bless You

35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[e]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

The Business of Being a Disciple–Mark 6 part 2

Jesus was trying to prepare his disciples for the things to come.  He wasted little time training them to preach and to minister.  The important lessons to teach them were the lessons of dependence and authority.  When he sent them out, he told them to only take themselves and their clothes on their backs—God would provide the rest.  He also told them to do what they have seen him do—so they spoke the message of hope and healed the sick, freed the oppressed and ministered to those in need.  As they traveled, they traveled with God’s protection, provision and authority.

As his chosen, we walk with the same protection, provision and authority that they possessed.  He calls us, like the original disciples to carry on his ministry.  A ministry of sharing hope, speaking truth and meeting needs. As we are going, we are to make disciples.  We are to simply do life, but, with him as the focus.  When he is the focus, ministry happens. Lives are changed and we enjoy peace in the midst of life’s chaos.  We need only submit to his leadership and follow him and he will do the rest.  Help me, Lord to humbly follow you.

God Bless You

Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Hometown Prophets–Mark 6 part 1

 

Sometimes we cannot see past our own prejudice. It is our nature to make assumptions and judgments about the people and things in our lives.  We never really mean any harm, but it is simply easier to vie the world from our preconceived notions, than to take time to really familiarize ourselves with those we “know” or think we know. Jesus had already changed the world where he walked.  He was showing them the true nature of God and the father’s intimate love for us—his chosen ones.  But then he went to his home.  Here he was received as a hometown hero, then treated as a fraud or nut.  They could not get past their perception of the hometown boy to see The true picture of God.

In that situation, Jesus was unable to free those closest to him, what a frustration.  In our lives, we also see that the power of God in our lives is least noticed by the ones we consider most important. We neither see or can be seen by our closest friends and family objectively. It is critical that we love, pray for and support those nearest to us so that they feel the faith Jesus did not.  We need to listen and withhold judgement until we truly see how God affects those we know and love—Lord help me to support my hometown prophets.

God Bless You

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Faith Has Many Looks Mark 5 part 2

Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.  It was a particularly interesting day in Jesus ministry.  He on this day would turn several hopeless situations into miracles.  The change came to a heart of a religious leader, the life of his daughter, the body of a formerly independent woman and the hearts of his apostles.  The common denominator, was the power of God.  His spirit led the Jewish leader to make a final plea to save his little girl.   It caused a woman after 12 years a fortune and all her pride and dignity spent to reach out and touch the cloak of God.  It caused Jesus and his dearest friends to go to a dead little girl and simply restore her life.  It caused the Son of God to step out of his life as God to show kindness and mercy to a world that neither knew him or really wanted the freedom he offered.

He still shows his power today.  He does amazing things and draws people to the knowledge of the power of God each and every day.  He miraculously saves lives, heals the sick and settles the doubts of men’s hearts so that they will follow him to enjoy the free life God offers.  Does not pick favorites, nor does he withhold blessings for those who would believe and follow him.  He is not a magician—he does not expect applause for doing amazing tricks.  He simply offers a life free from sin and death of we will trust and follow him.  Help me, Lord to follow you closely and daily.

God Bless You

 21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing[c] what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”…41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.

Legion–Mark 5

But what about the pigs.  Jesus was traveling and teaching the people about Who God was and what his plan was.  This story is a great example.  Here was a man ensnared by a host of demonic spirits.  He had become so ensnared that he was uncontrollable by any human standard.  He could break human bonds but not the bindings of our enemy.  The enemy had ravaged the mans life and left him living among the dead and decaying.  In that hopeless state, Jesus met him.  Jesus knew the problem was spiritual.  He knew the enemy had a hold on the man.  So without judging why the man was how he was, Jesus simply released him from his bondage. It cost 2000 pigs their lives…but, the man was free. The locals were scared to death, the man was eternally grateful and the demons were gone.

Many things in our lives can control us. When they become traps and chains, we try various human means to control them.  The truth is, the enemy is constantly seeking to trap us just as he did with the man in the graveyard.  As it spirals, we realize the hopelessness of seeking to control them through human means and begin to feel lost, trapped and hopeless.  But, like the man in the story, Jesus can free us if we will only allow him to.  We simply submit to him, follow him ad trust him to do what we cannot. Sure there may be some major bacon sacrificed, LOL, but in the end it is our one opportunity to be free. Then we, like the man in the story, can begin to change the world.

God Bless YOU

Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[b] how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

God Gets It–Mark 4 continued

Keeping with his theme Jesus continued his discussion of the Gospel and its being shared. Both the lives of Christians and their message has to be shared with the world.  As in the parable of the soils, Jesus makes clear that all are not trained or treated as equal.  Some that are more gifted will also have more required.  In the soil parable it said those planted in Good soil returned 30, 60 and 100 fold.  In this second part he makes clear that as things are measured out the expectation will be raised.  It is similar to the parable of the talents—God simply understands that each disciple is different.  Their lives will be measured by how they surrender what they have not how much they have to surrender.  Old and new testament alike, God simply wants us to follow him and allow him to use us to change and free the world.

We can see a little mustard seed of faith change the world.  We can hear a broken man’s testimony release thousands from the chains of sin.  We can see youth who are willing to stand pure and devoted to God, literally save this country from its certain moral demise.  It does not take much to please God just all we have.  Help me Lord to surrender what I am and what I have to complete what you want done through me.

God Bless You

He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”