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.