All things must come to an end?-Mark 13

Jesus was not only preparing his guys, he was aso preparing the Church for the end.  So many things must happen for his return.  When we read through the chapter, we can be excited to think God may return soon.  The key for the disciples and for us at this year-end is to be ready.  We have to live like he is coming back and coming soon.  What that means is that we cannot hold on too tight to the things of this world.  We have to be willing to let Go of the things that control us and allow the Lord to control our Journey.  When we do, whether he returns tomorrow or long after we die, we will be full and ready for an eternity with him. 

The world lives as if this is all we Got, but we, as his followers, should live as if this is the part we lay on the altar. If we can, we then can enjoy the things he provides but hope on the things that are eternal—help me Lord to live as if I you were coming soon.

God Bless You

As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”

“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

“You must be on your guard.

Giving God’s Way–Mark 12 Final

The giving back of what God has given you is always a difficult topic.  As Jesus was ending his preparation of the disciples, this was a topic for discussion.  Interestingly, Malachi 3—the end of the old testament was God’s instruction on giving as well.  Bottom line—we need to give with joy, we need to give an amount that requires faith and we need to give to God and not as an obligation. God does not need our money, he needs our trust.  The widow gave little money, but gave trusting God to provide.

In our lives and culture, we also need to give out of our joy and trusting God to provide.  Tithing is a great model the 1st 10th of your income.  As you give joyfully and gratefully, then God will bless and provide–thrilled at your trust.  It is difficult to grasp this as a trust issue, but when you do, then you will finally be free to express your trust with the most difficult thing you have, your money—Help me, Lord, to give joyfully and expectantly.

God Bless You

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Let’s End The Questions–Mark 12 continued

The religious leaders were trying to discredit Jesus—they were asking all the trick questions about taxes, the resurrection and marriage—Jesus faced each question knowing the truth and sharing it without malice.  Then they asked the big one—Which is the most important Law.  These after all were the lawyers of the day.  They had all the answers.  Jesus answered with what as the heart of the matter…Love God and Love others.  If Men would follow these laws, there would be no need to enact the other 648 provisions that surrounded the 10 commandments.  This ended the attempts to trip him up on legal points.

That answer is haunting, however, still even this day.  Because we find that all our temptation and all our sin still stems for placing ourselves or some other created thing ahead of God.  As I analyse my weakness and failures they all center around times I placed something ahead of God.  We today are called as then to seek forst his Kingdom and righteousness and then he is free to add all other things.  Help me, Lord to follow the greatest commandments.

Merry Christmas and God Bless You

 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions

 

The Vineyard-Mark 12 part 1

Jesus told the story of Israel.  God gave them as a people a promised land.  He allowed them to take it over from  the heathen inhabitants.  Then as time went on the people honored God less and less.  He sent prophets and messengers to remind the people that they were who and where they were solely due to God’s protection and provision. The people listened less and then grew to despise the messengers. They beat them, exiled them and even killed them.  But then God sent his son—Jesus.  Jesus was finishing the story—HE knew his fate, as did his accusers. If they would have listened, they could still have turned and followed.

We have even less of an excuse. Jesus has risen and our salvation awaits if we are simply willing to follow.  I am grateful the week of his birth for his willing sacrifice for our failure.  Jesus has protected and provided for us for 2000 years—Let me, Lord follow you and honor you with my life.  Merry Christmas!

God Bless You

12 Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.

“He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

“But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

“What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’[a]?”

Battle of Wits–Jesus Wins Mark 11 final

The religious leaders of the day wanted so badly to discredit Jesus.  He stood for everything they were against—Love, faith, peace and accepting people for who and where they were—Tell me, What God would do that????  Jesus grew tired of the battles, he simply wanted people to see God for Who he was—Loving, uncompromising and completely focused on the idea of restoration of his people.  This particular attempt to trap him was typical of their attacks—rather than seek his knowledge and learn of his heart, the leaders wanted to trap him.  It was no contest—Jesus shut them down immediately.  He knew he was in authority and that the leaders had no idea who God really was—nor did they want to.

We are in a similar place today.  God still seeks to save the lost.  His word is spread throughout the world.  But rather than simply following him and spreading the Gospel, so many religious leaders are clinging to political correctness and religious tradition.  They question his authority, renounce his word and walk away from the basic truths of love, faith and Hope.  We, as his kids have to speak the truth in love.  We cannot worry about arguing over the finer points of doctrine—instead we cling to the basic truths 1. God Loves us 2. Men are sinners and separated from Him 3. Jesus gave his life to bridge the Gap between us and God 4. We have to accept his gift of salvation and allow him to be Lord of our life to experience the restoration he offers.  It is these truth that should consume us—not the silly religious rules.

God Bless You

27 They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”

29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”

31 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)

33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

Fruit Trumps Leaves–Mark 11 part 2

Jesus had only a short time to prepare his men for the future—On ths day he used two events to emphasize One major point…God wants our lives to bear fruit.  The religious leadership were most concerned about how they looked to others.  Jesus spent his ministry trying to show the fruit of who God was and what serving him would produce.  When he saw the fig tree in the distance, it looked like a full and rich tree, but, when they drew close it became apparent that the tree was all show and no fruit.  Jesus cursed the tree at once.  Later he went to the temple grounds where the religious leaders were allowing folks to purchase their sacrifices on the temple court.  It looked Good, everyone had a sacrifice, but, it produced no fruit—no repentance and no real sacrifice.  Jesus was infuriated.  He laid waste to the market and the merchants.  While the events were separate, they were very similar.

God does not care about the show.  He does not need pretty packaging.  All through the Bible, he emphasizes the critical nature of working from the heart out.  When our heart is right, we produce fruit—both the fruit of the spirit and fruit of changed lives.  We can never ignore either.  If we spend our time focused on the image.  Making sure, like the fig tree that we look full and rich—we will be fruitless and cursed.  If however we focus on producing fruit we will be rich beyond measure.  Help me Lord—to focus on the bearing of fruit and not the fullness of my leaves!

God Bless You

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’[c]? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’[d]

18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples[e] went out of the city.

Mark 11 part 1–Jesus Arrives as a King

Jesus entered Jerusalem as a King and hero.  There were crowds and palm leaves—people singing his praise it was a glorious day.  But Jesus knew it was a fleeting moment.  The most ironic part was that He knew these people that were yelling hosanna would be screaming for his execution only days later.  He was never about the fanfare—simply because he knew it was fleeting. He had a mission to complete and only a week to complete it.  He was focused and doing all that was necessary to complete his mission.  I know the disciples must have thought they were coming into their own and were finally getting the reward for following Jesus—sadly, they would find that they were really going to test their commitment. His power and authority as a King was unquestionable, and, for the moment, the crowd had it right–but, he did not come to be an earthly ruler.  This would have been an enormous step down from being the creator and Master of the universe, and frankly, God was unwilling to settle!

In our walks, we can often lose sight of the mission for the activities.  Jesus had focus and kept it no matter the circumstance—he calls us to do the same.  In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul articulates the idea that we will have peace if we can be unaffected by circumstance and realize his peace and power will meet our needs.  Jesus got it and the disciples would git it.  We have to face each adventure with the idea that He is leading and wherever he leads I’ll go—2 hymns in one week!

God Bless You

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna![a]

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[b]

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”