Friday, April 30, 2021

Keep Calling Out To Him

Friday, April 30, 2021

And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, What do you want him,  me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way;  your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. Mark 10:46-52

Keep Calling Out To Him

Jesus and His disciples and a great crowd were leaving Jericho when Jesus stopped. He had heard something, but how He could hear it with the low roar of the large crowd? The voice of pain cut through the din of the crowd. Jesus heard the cry of the blind beggar Bartimaeus, who sat on the side of the road begging people for money as they came and went from Jericho. 


Bartimaeus heard the excited crowd that day and probably asked what was going on. He found out that it was Jesus and he immediately began to cry out for Him. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! People told him to be quiet, but he didn’t stop. He called louder, because he knew the Savior was passing by and he was not going to miss the only moment of hope, the only chance he may ever have. 


We don’t know if Bartimaeus was blind his whole life, but his life currently held very little hope. He was a blind beggar. He couldn’t travel anywhere or work. He couldn’t go for a walk or go see his friends. He probably didn’t even have any friends. He could only sit on the side of the road and hope for kindhearted travelers who would spare him a few coins. He must have felt hopelessly stuck with no hope of a future and was just trying to survive.


Bartimaeus was much more aware of the presence of the Savior than some of us. He was tuned in, paying attention, and he was looking for deliverance. He called out and he would not be quieted. He let his faith dictate his cries to Jesus and would not be quieted by the world. Eventually His faith made him well. Jesus heard his cries over everything else and told the disciples to call him. They went to him and told him to take heart. Get up; He is calling you.  And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, What do you want him,  me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, Rabbi, let me recover my sight. 

What can we learn from Bartimaeus? We can learn something of what it means to journey out of darkness and blindness of hopelessness into light and the gift of seeing.  Like Bartimaeus, we can rise above our limitations and be all that God will have us to be – with His help. Although we may feel hopelessly stuck in our lives, Jesus has an answer. We have to keep calling to Him and believing just like Bartimaeus did. When the world tells us to be quiet, we have to keep calling Him. When Satan tries to make us believe it is hopeless, we have to keep calling. When the heaviness in our hearts tries to steal our belief, we have to keep calling.   


Sometimes we have to become as desperate as Bartimaeus was to become determined enough to not quit.  We also have to be willing to take the step Jesus tells us to take. Bartimaeus came…UNHESITATINGLY!  With abandonment!  He was excited and expectant. Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up …and LET GO of what he had clung to for security and protection. Unfortunately sometimes we stumble around in the dark for far too long and become way to comfortable in the darkness, even though we want out. We ask Jesus, He answers, and we are terrified to leave the twisted comfort of the darkness. There is big faith required to let go and step out in faith. 


Just as Jesus heard Bartimaeus, He hears us too - over all the noise. Bartimaeus kept calling, and his faith made him well. Go your way;  your faith has made you well. And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. Mark tells us that when Bartimaeus received his sight, he "followed Jesus along the road." Can you imagine the testimony that his eyesight must have been as he told others the impact that Jesus had in his life?  


Jesus is waiting. He is listening. He wants us to call out to Him from our darkness and be delivered in faith. Then we too can share our testimony with others so that they can know His healing. 


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Above All

 Thursday, April 28, 2021

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. Good teacher, he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Why do you call me good? Jesus answered. No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother. Teacher, he declared, all these I have kept since I was a boy.  Jesus looked at him and loved him. One thing you lack,” he said. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Mark 10:17-22

Above All

There was a rich young ruler. He probably had influence, leadership, money of course, good looks, and success. But he wanted something more. He must have felt that something was still missing in his life. He had heard about a relationship with Jesus leading to eternal life and he asked Jesus about it one day - Good teacher, he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus responded by telling him that he already knew what the commandments say - You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother. The man responds saying that he has done these things since he was a boy. Jesus then tells him that he lacks one thing – to sell all his worldly possessions and give them to the poor and follow Him. When the rich young ruler heard these words, he went away sad. And Jesus was sad too.

What did Jesus mean by his words to this young man? Did He mean that the only way we can ever hope to get into heaven is if we sell everything we own and give it to the poor? Then live out of a tent and do the Lord’s work? No. that is not it at all, unless we love all our worldly possessions more than we love Jesus. See, this story is about love. This young man might have thought that he could buy his way into heaven. Or perhaps he thought that he could get into heaven because he was powerful, dynamic, and well liked. But Jesus knew that the young man loved his things, and he loved his life exactly the way it was. Jesus knew that he loved all this more than he loved Him, and he wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice or give up anything for anyone else – not for the poor and not for Jesus. Does this mean he was not sincere in asking? Not necessarily. We ask God many questions and don’t necessarily like the answer we get, even when know He gives the only right answer.  

This young ruler did not realize that his treasure on earth is really worth nothing in an eternal perspective. None of it would get him into heaven and his love for it all would keep him out of heaven, because he loved it all more than he loved Jesus. Jesus wants first place in our lives. He wants us to love Him most of all. If we love something so much that we are not willing to give it up if He wants us to, then our love is out of order and we need to take a close look at things.

Jesus was sad over the young ruler’s choice. He loved Him like He loves you and me. Jesus looked at him and loved him. So why didn’t Jesus give Him a second chance or chase him down or try to persuade him to change his mind? Because Jesus lets us make that choice. The young ruler knew. He had known and kept the commandments since he was a little boy, so it is not as it he had never heard of Jesus. He made the choice. Jesus cannot share the throne of our hearts. There is only room for one and it must be Him. This story is a good reminder for us to examine what we love, and what place we give it in our lives.

This successful young man seemed to be doing all the right things, but he could not give up his affection for wealth in order to follow Jesus. And then Jesus said that it’s easier for “a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (v.25). Thankfully, there is nothing we can have or do to make us worthy enough to get into heaven. In our own efforts, power, wealth, or influence, we cannot make it in. It is only by the shed blood of Jesus, His sacrifice on the cross that makes us worthy enough. His sacrifice did it for us and our believing and receiving is the only ticket we need.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

This Is My Beloved Son; Listen To Him...

 Wednesday, April 28, 2021

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. Mark 9:2-8

This Is My Beloved Son; Listen To Him...

Peter, James, and John were privileged to witness the transfiguration of Jesus - a spiritual experience that changed their lives forever. They went up the mountain with Jesus and He changed right before their eyes. It was supernatural and could only have happened by the hand of a Holy God. Jesus began to glow, and His clothes became radiant – intensely white – more so than even bleach could make them. Next, Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter, James, and John were terrified, and Peter just had to say something.

I can identify so much with Peter. He is shaken up and not sure what to say or do so he basically says Hey it is so great that we are all here! Lets make some tents for you important guys! (Jesus, Moses, and Elijah) I love that God speaks immediately and says This is my beloved Son; listen to him. I really think there is supposed to be an exclamation mark at the end of that statement – like a parent or a teacher with kids that are being silly, and you need to get their attention. It feels a little like a reprimand, but God just wanted him pay attention to Jesus. 

Like Peter, how often do we try to just do something when we don’t understand exactly what God is doing? We try to reason or make sense of a situation and if we can’t, we find something to do, as if that will suddenly make everything clear, or solve a problem.  We act out of fear or confusion and miss the very presence of God, shining right before our eyes. God just wanted Peter to be still and quiet and listen. If we are trying to keep busy, we likely won’t hear God speaking to us.  I think Peter was in shock a little bit and needed to be redirected. God wanted him to just be still and listen to Jesus, and often that is what He wants from us too.

What an incredible story. Imagine standing there with Jesus, Peter, James, and John and then suddenly Jesus changes right before your eyes! This was the glory of God in physical representation though Jesus. Jesus was changed before their eyes and they were changed because of it also. May we open our eyes to truly see Him at work all around us and be changed because of sitting in His presence and listening. The less we pay attention to God, the less we will be changed. The more we pay attention to Him and listen, the more our lives will be transformed in His presence. 



Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Gain The World, Forfeit Your Soul

 Tuesday, April 27, 2021

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38

Gain The World, Forfeit Your Soul

As a crowd and the disciples gather around, Jesus asks a question that is so profound. He asked For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? I feel like we spend a great deal of time and energy trying to profit from this world. We spend our lives searching for something to fill the void when Jesus is the only thing that fills that space. Not only is Jesus the only thing that fills the void, but we can lose our soul in the process. Satan lures us with the world. We imagine the lies he tells to be true, but we quickly find out they are empty, and you cannot fill emptiness with emptiness. There are some who would rather have all the world offers than to deny themselves at all and have all Jesus offers. Sadly, one day they will find out that it was not worth it to gain the whole world and forfeit their soul.

Before Jesus asks this question, He says three things that one must do if they want to be a true Christ follower.

Deny Yourself
One of the first things we have to learn as new Christians is how to deny ourselves. To some this may sound like a life of denial and going without but in reality, denying oneself and following Christ will be the most fulfilling life. We have to learn to say no to our carnal human nature and focus on what glorifies God. Only one of us will get the glory and it has to be Him. It is easy to get lost in our desires – even good desires like church work or volunteer work. Although those are great and help us grow, they can become an idol and take the place of God in our hearts. We must remember that a relationship with Him is the most important thing and if we need to stop doing other things – even good things – to work on that relationship then its ok. Christians have to die to self every day. Our sinful nature doesn’t leave when we become Christians. It is a battle we will fight for the rest of our lives.

Take Up Your Cross
So many people think this means some sort of burden. By saying this, Jesus meant that it was going to be work and sacrifice to be His follower. I can't help but think of the symbolism. Jesus had to carry His cross - the place of sacrifice and death. We have to carry our cross - maybe so we can remember that we are to deny ourselves and die to ourselves daily. It is a continuous commitment, not because we have to, but because we desire to follow Him

Some of the followers of Jesus during Bible times died because they were followers of Christ. They denied themselves and chose to follow Christ no matter the cost. By taking up our cross daily we are allowing Christ to take the lead and committing to follow Him. We are committing to be His disciples. Whatever we have to leave behind, wherever He leads us to go, or whatever uncomfortable situation He leads us through.

Follow Me 
When we truly let go and let God have control, we can surrender to whatever He leads us to. Some of us will be leaders too, but we will all be followers of Christ. He knows this will not always be easy. We will face opposition and even persecution. 

Another part of what Jesus is saying here is "Obey Me." Being a follower of Jesus, following Him, means obeying His word and turning to Him for all things. Jesus knows we will not be perfect, but it is about making the choice to do or say what Jesus commands us to do and say. Following Him means being led by Him. Following His example. Following His guidance in our lives, and doing our best to be like Him. 

Along the way, at some point we have to decide whether it will be Jesus or the world - and it may happen more than once. As a Christian we are not automatically exempt from the things of the world that try to lure us away, such as false doctrines like the Pharisees, along with the worldly desires and enticements. All the things we could ever own - houses, cars, boats, properties, etc. mean absolutely nothing in an eternal perspective. They might give momentary happiness, but they do nothing for our souls. The only place for our souls is carrying our cross, following Jesus. 


Monday, April 26, 2021

Who Do You Say Jesus Is?

Monday, April 26, 2021

Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up? They said to him, Twelve. And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up? And they said to him, Seven. And he said to them, Do you not yet understand? Mark 8:18-21

Who Do You Say Jesus Is? 

So far in our journey through the book of Mark we have seen many miracles that Jesus performed. The disciples and crowds had already witnessed many miracles and chapter 8 was beginning with another one. A large crowd was again gathered around Jesus, some had been with Him for three days. Jesus was concerned about them not having food and was talking to the disciples about it. They replied that there was no place they could get enough bread to feed them. Jesus responded to them by asking how much bread they had between them and they told Him they had seven loaves. They had a few small fish as well and they gave those to Him as well. Jesus prayed over the bread and fish and gave them to the disciples to pass out to the crowd. Much like the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand in chapter 6, again there was more than enough food to feed four thousand people. The disciples gathered seven baskets of broken pieces after everyone had eaten and was satisfied. Jesus sent them away and got into a boat with Jesus to go to Dalmanoutha. 

When they got there, the Pharisees came to Jesus and started arguing with Him, testing Him, wanting a sign from heaven. Jesus told them they would not get a sign and He and the disciples got into the boat again and left. Jesus warned them about the contaminating yeast of the Pharisees and the followers of Herod. He uses the word leaven to symbolize influence – and in this case, the evil influence of sin. The leaven of the Pharisees and Herod included false teaching and hypocritical behavior.  The disciples were confused, thinking it was because they had forgotten to bring lunch. They completely missed what Jesus was referring to here. He was actually calling them to a deeper discernment. He was warning them about the negative influence of the Pharisees and the Herodians who were allied against Christ. There was truly no concern over food at this time. Jesus had proven he was more than capable to meet their needs by the miracles of feeding the five thousand, and now the four thousand. They also could get food when they go to the other side of the lake. Jesus was trying to get them to see the danger of false doctrine, not a warning about food.  He was more concerned for their spiritual condition than their physical needs. 

Jesus must have been feeling a little discouraged at this point. The Pharisees and Herodians were not His followers so He was used to questions and doubts from them. But the disciples were His followers, chosen and called by Him. They were His friends, His people, His followers. They were supposed to be helping Him and it seemed like they did not fully understand that He, not only could meet their every need, but that He was Messiah. He asked them  Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” Mark 8:17b-21

As the disciples and Jesus went on their way, they came to a blind man, and Jesus healed Him. Then they went on and Jesus questioned His disciples asking who people said He was. They gave Him their answers and He asked them another question - Who do you say I amAnd He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 

Jesus needed His disciples to know who He was. He needed to know that they understood. Like the disciples, we witness God's power in our own lives, yet often we don't give the respect He deserves as Messiah in our lives. We are good with Him as Christ as long as we understand what is happening. We quickly forget what He has done when something else begins to go wrong. 

Like the disciples, when life goes awry, we need to remember what Jesus has done for us in the past and how faithful He is. Even when we question Him and struggle with doubt, He still loves us and keeps His promises. Also like the disciples, Jesus will provide our physical needs. He doesn't want us to spend more time in our lives thinking about the physical needs and desires of this world more than the condition of our heart and our relationship to Him. We are His followers too, and as such, we have to discern the truth about Him and be intentional to not try to make Him into something He is not to fit into our box. As we learn to follow Jesus completely, He continues to teach us more about Himself than we could imagine. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Responsible Christianity Part 3

 Sunday, April 25, 2021

Responsible Christianity Part 3

John 17:20-21

One of the first steps a new believer should make is to join with other believers who are of “like faith and order.”

We are not an organization built on a philosophy, but a body joined together by belief.

Basic Christian Doctrine

·   God  

We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - (The Trinity) - co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power with the same attributes and perfection. 

·   Salvation

Salvation begins and ends with God and His purpose of grace. 

Salvation includes God’s work of regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.

·   Security of the Believer

This is a combination of two great Biblical doctrines of the faith – Preservation of the Saints and Perseverance of the believer.

·   The Bible  

The Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to man.  It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction.

 ·   The Church

Regenerated Membership –

 The Ordinances

Believer's Baptism by Immersion

 The Lord’s Supper

 Congregational Government - A true New Testament local church is sovereign and autonomous, or self-governing.

Friday, April 23, 2021

She Never Imagined

Friday, April 23, 2021
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii[f] worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.  Mark 6:34-43

She Never Imagined
Here is a different spin on a very popular story out of Mark 6 - Jesus feeding the 5,000. This is a devotional that was written for Mother's Day, so the spin is that of the mother that packed the little boy's lunch that day. She had no idea what plans God had for her child that day and how He would use him for His glory. 

Packing a lunch for our children may seem to be just another mundane task of motherhood but leaving a legacy for our children is a lot like packing their lunches for life. We want them to be equipped and healthy; physically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally.

A Lunchbox Legacy

A Lunchbox legacy is very specific to the responsibility of mothering.  It is not just a legacy of personal character or accomplishments.  One job that we are going to look at from a different perspective today is packing lunches.  What can be more innocuous? Less important in the grand scheme of things?

There was one such mother in the bible that packed a lunch for her son one day, just like every other day.  This mother was doing her normal job of taking care of her son, making sure he had something to eat as he left the house for the day.  She didn’t realize that she was doing something really special or that she was doing something that God would use for His great purpose.  The story I am talking about is the little boy who gave his lunch that his mother had packed that morning – five loaves of bread and two fishes – to Jesus to feed 5,000 people.  I am sure his mother never imagined that the lunch she packed her son that morning would be used to perform a miracle by none other than Jesus himself. 

When you are packing your child’s lunch, you put a lot of thought into it.  You plan ahead.  Sometimes you get them involved.  This gives them ownership in their own legacy.  You add good things for them.  Just like in the story, The mother fills the lunchbox and God uses it for whatever purpose He has.  We put into their lives every day the things that will help them to become who God intends and to be used for His purpose in life.  We “pack their lunch” for life.

The Lunchbox represents much more than just a physical provision to get the child through the day. Every day the mother invests herself with her presence and thoughts– packing the child’s lunch.   She puts notes in the lunchbox – I’m praying for you, I love you…This is the subtle, everyday building of a legacy.  Her thoughts are not on the lunch but the day ahead for this child.

Leaving a legacy for your children is like packing their lunch.  You want to give them things in their lunch that are good for them, things that will sustain them and satisfy them.  You want to pack healthy food, food that nourishes their life.  You want them to trust that you will give them good things.  You want them to have faith in you to pack a good lunch for them.

The real question around the Lunchbox Legacy is “does my child have what they need to succeed today?”  You want to give them things in their lunch that are good for them, things that will sustain them and satisfy them.  You want to pack healthy food, food that nourishes their life.  You want them to trust that you will give them good things. You want them to have faith in you to pack a good lunch for them.  The Lunchbox of Life needs to avoid junk food that looks good and may taste good but lead to emptiness.  Be careful what you feed your children.  False values lead to empty lives.  It is part of our jobs as mothers and certainly part of the legacy we want to leave to pass on authentic faith and Christianity along with godly values. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

A Windy Night On The Lake

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. Mark 6:45-52

A Windy Night On The Lake

You know it is coming.  You can see the huge thunderheads on the horizon.  You really don’t even need to look at your radar; because you can smell the coming storm in the air.  This may be what the disciples experienced that day when Jesus, in spite of the winds, declared He wanted them to all get in the boat to go over to the other side of the lake.  I’m sure they were thinking, “It’s really too windy to go and we will be heading directly into the wind.” But Jesus sent them directly into the turbulent winds while He stayed behind to pray. 

The storm is not the destination planned.  The other side of the lake is the destination, but there is no way to get there except straight through the middle of the tempest.  Jesus not only has sent them out into this terrible wind, but He is not even with them.  He was still on the shore somewhere praying. I am sure they were afraid and wondering where He is. Then He comes, and they don’t recognize Him, but instead think He is a ghost. They are afraid and cry out, and He immediately calms their fears and gets into the boat with them. The wind stopped and they were amazed. The day had been a lot for them. Jesus had fed 5,000 people with just a few fish and loaves of bread - and now this!

That is very much how we feel when we are caught out in the wild winds of life.  We feel like afraid and like Jesus is still on the shore instead of in the rocking boat with us.  There is no way to avoid the storms in life.  The fierce winds will come and sometimes to get to where God wants us to be, we must pass through them. It is possible for Jesus to show up in the midst of our storms and not be recognized. It is entirely possible for us to have moments just like the disciples had where He is coming right alongside us and we cry out in fear because we don’t see Him or what He is doing. Even though He has the power to take away the storm, He usually doesn’t. He always has a reason for the turbulence He allows us to experience. When we acknowledge this, and acknowledge His presence in our storms, we experience a deeper understanding of exactly who He is. Trying to calm the storms in our own power proves how very insufficient we are. Faith is what helps us get through the storms of life. Faith that even though the winds are out of control, He is in control. And even though we may not recognize Him, we can trust that He is in the boat with us.  

As we go through storms, He's preparing us to be a blessing to others who go through similar difficulties.  It is like a ripple effect when you throw a stone into the water.  You are changed and blessed by your storm experience and God uses you to help someone else going through the same thing.  The length and intensity of the storm may depend on your willingness to allow God’s will to be done. Embrace the black clouds and wild winds of a coming storm. Be willing to be transformed and allow God to use these experiences to mold your life for His purpose. 



Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A Story of Redemption and New Life

Wednesday, April 20, 2021 

Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “my little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. Mark 5:22-24

A Story of  Redemption and New Life

In Mark 5 we find the story of a man named Jairus. His little girl was dying, and he knew of Jesus and His powers to heal, so he begged Jesus to come to His house and heal her.  Jesus had just come back from a trip out in a boat with His disciples. People were talking about Jesus and seeing all the miracles He was performing so they were following Him and gathering around Him. Jairus came and fell at His feet begging Him to come heal His daughter and Jesus went. As He went, the crowd followed and thronged all around Him. It was during this trip to Jairus’ house that the woman with the issue of blood reached through the crowd and barely touched Jesus’ robe.

Jesus stopped. I imagine that Jairus was feeling very impatient as his daughter lay dying. As he watched as Jesus took care of this woman and healed her, a servant came from his home to let him know that his daughter had died. While He was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, “your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” Mark 5:35

Jesus heard what the servant said to Jairus and He told him not to worry, that his daughter would be fine. But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”  Mark 5:36  And Jesus honored that word. He did not heal Jairus’ daughter, He raised her from the dead. He stopped and healed the woman in the crowd and raised a little girl from the dead, one sick for 12 years and the other only 12 years into her life. Both were touched by Jesus and healed to live a full life.

Jesus set the bar for us. He gave us example after example of how we are to live and most of all, He showed us how we are to treat people. He loved people completely and utterly unconditionally. He took time for this woman who was practically an outcast because of her illness, right in the middle of performing another miracle. He stopped for the people everyone else ignored. He cared about those that no one else cared for. He loved the unlovable and was a humble servant to all, yet He was still the King of Kings.

God never intended for us to live quiet, perfect lives. He intended for us to go and love and serve. He wants us to love the unlovable like Jesus did, and He wants us to stop for the ones that everyone else passes by. Jairus was an important person. He was the ruler of the synagogue and probably very respected. So Jesus was on His way to help this very respected man’s sick daughter, but He stopped to help a woman who was not respected at all.  Jesus loved all the same and treated everyone with the same respect. Her problem was just as important to Him as the ruler of the synagogue’s daughter. This is the love and respect for people that Jesus modeled for us and wants us to show others for His glory.

 When we take the time to stop for people like Jesus did, we have the opportunity to pour into others and we make the opportunity for Jesus to work in our lives as well. We will always be transformed in some way when we do the Lord's work and invest in human lives. 

And He allowed no one to follow Him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.  They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. and when He had entered, He said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” and they laughed at him. But He put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with Him and went in where the child was.  Taking her by the hand He said to her, “Talitha Cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.  And He strictly charged them that no one should know this and told them to give her something to eat. Mark 5: 37-43

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A Woman With Issues

 Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering. Mark 5:33-34

In Mark Chapter 5, we find a miraculous story of healing for a woman who understood what it means to be quarantined. She had been quarantined for 12 years. She was lonely, sad, and had lost all hope that she would be healed. She was desperate for a miracle and Jesus had just what she needed. The same is true for us. When we feel the most hopeless, that is when we can know that He is the most capable to restore and provide everything we need. 

A Woman With Issues

There was a woman with an issue. She was known and identified by that issue. She was unclean, unworthy, and alone. You could not see her issue, yet it ate away at her very body and soul.  She had the issue of blood, for 12 years. During Bible times, women were considered ceremonially unclean during their “time” of the month and anything they touched was unclean as well. If anyone touched anything she had touched, they would also be considered unclean. (Leviticus 15) She couldn’t be around people, could not go out in public, and had no communication with her family, let alone a hug from anyone. For 12 years she was quarantined. But Jesus was coming...  

Because she thought, If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed. Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, who touched my clothes?
Mark 5:28-30

She knew Jesus was coming and she believed that though countless doctors could not help her, He could heal her. She had been to every doctor and spent all she had, yet she was worse, instead of better. Jesus was her only hope. The city was crowded, and she could barely move, bumping up against all these people, making them unclean. She saw Him but could not get close. She got down on her hands and knees and crawled through the sea of legs, reached out as far as she could, and barely touched the hem of his garment. She believed that was all she needed to be healed, and it was. The moment she touched His clothes, she instantly felt that she was healed, and Jesus felt something too. He knew that power had gone out of His body and He turned around looking for who touched Him. His disciples were a little confused when He was asking who touched Him, because there were so many crowded around and pushing in to get to Jesus that everyone was touching each other. How could they possibly identify just one touch?

You see the people crowding against you his disciples answered, and yet you can ask, Who touched me? But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.
Mark 5:31-34

Jesus healed more than her issue of blood that day. He healed all of her issues when He turned around and said “Daughter.” He took her old identity of being unclean, unworthy, and unwanted, and gave her a new identity as Daughter of the King of Kings. Our issues keep us hidden away, ashamed, embarrassed, alone and believing we are unworthy. They keep us from “bumping” up against others more worthy, who, in our minds, would never understand or want to be around the likes of us. They keep us from believing in just the touch of His garment. They keep us from trusting Him with our issues. We are not hiding a thing. Our issues may be unseen by the world, but our Heavenly Father knows every issue we have, and yet still calls us Daughter. He looks at us the same way He looked at her, as His child, not a woman with issues. He never thinks that we are too unclean for Him, too unworthy for Him, too far gone for Him.  He never worries about us touching Him, but beckons us to reach for Him and with even just the slightest brush of His garment, He instantly exchanges our issues for a beautiful new identity.

But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stallMalachi 4:2

Leviticus 15:25-27

Monday, April 19, 2021

Fertile Soil = Abundant Growth

Monday, April 19, 2021

 Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Mark 4:3-8

 Fertile Soil = Abundant Growth

Jesus told many parables - or stories - to help tell others all about the His Father’s kingdom and the Gospel story. One such parable was the parable of the sower, in the verses above. He described what the parable meant to His disciples - 


Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.  Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;  but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.  Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” 
Mark 4:13-20


By using this parable, Jesus wanted to impress the importance of the state of our hearts when we read, hear, and study His Word. We decide what kind of soil we have. It is not a matter of chance. If you are not intentional, Satan will take every opportunity he can get to snatch the seeds that have been planted in our lives before they can take root.


If we do things that help us to grow in our relationship with Christ, such as going to Bible study and church, or having a quiet time every day, without planting what we learn in fertile soil and continuing to nurture it, we will lose it. Without roots it will not last and we quickly fall away from what we started. 


Sometimes we hear and learn and know, but we let the circumstances of our lives dictate what we believe to be true, or we let the idols of our lives remain in first place without giving God the throne of our hearts that He deserves. As long as we are holding onto idols, there is no room for God to come into our hearts. We may have seeds and a little bit of nutrients, but we won’t have fruit. 


Like a beautiful garden, when we plant our seeds in good soil, and intentionally take care of them with nutrients (reading the Bible, church, worship), and keep the weeds (sin) out, God will produce abundant crops from our relationship with Him. Again, we make the choice. It comes down to what we want in our lives. How much of your life do you want to give Him? The only way we experience all He has planned for us and grow, and in turn help others grow, is to choose to give it all to Him. When we hand over our hearts and allow Him to cultivate His word in fertile soil, we will experience the abundant life He has planned for us. 


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Responsible Christianity Part 2

 Sunday, April 18, 2021

Responsible Christianity Part 2

2 Timothy 3:16

The Spirit’s primary vehicle for moving and speaking in the life of the believer is the Bible. The Spirit of God, through the Word of God, works in us to shape us into the kind of people God wants us to be, and leads us to do the things God wants us to do. 

  I.    How Did We Get Our Bible?

A.    Passing Stories Along

B.    Written Words

C.   Collected Writings

II.    The Importance of the Bible

A.    The Bible Is Inspired By God.

·         Adam: Man

·         Seth: Appointed

·         Enosh: Mortal

·         Kenan: Sorrow

·         Mahalalel: The Blessed God

·         Jared: Shall Come Down

·         Enoch: Teaching

·         Methuselah: His Death Shall Bring

·         Lamech: Despairing

·         Noah: Comfort and Rest

B.    The Bible is the believer’s source of faith.

C.   The Bible is the testimony of Jesus Christ.

D.   The Bible is the believer’s defense in the face of temptation.

III.    How To Read Your Bible

A.    Read your Bible consistently.

B.    Read your bible expectantly.

C.   Read your bible obediently.

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