2-29-16 “Powerless”

The disciples knew empowerment, but they also knew weakness.

In Mark chapter 6, the story is recorded where they were sent out by Jesus with the power over evil spirits and to heal. They returned with stories of demons being cast out and people being miraculously healed. However, when the crowd looking for Jesus caught up to them, there was a crisis (thousands of people and no food).

When the disciples inquired of the Lord about the need, He said,

“You give them something to eat.”

Their response,

“Shall we go and buy two-hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”

– Mark 6:37 NKJV

What happened next is the very familiar story of Jesus feeding the five-thousand, but consider the moment in light of where the disciples had just come from. They had literally just been the instruments of healing and casting out demons in dramatic fashion, but when it came to groceries, they were looking for coins. We do that sometimes. Jesus proves himself faithful in powerful, awe-inspiring ways, then a grocery crisis pops-up and we start digging through the “couch cushions” of our life for nickels and dimes.

In both situations (twelve being sent out, and feeding the five-thousand) the power was the Lord’s. The disciples were always powerless in their own abilities. It was the Lord’s authority that sent demons fleeing, the mention of His name that mended broken bodies, and His miraculous provision refreshing the basket each time bread was drawn out. They were “power-less”, but He was “power-full”.

In what ways will His power be displayed in your life today?

2-27-16 “Perceptions”

Jesus was a carpenter. Compared to creating the universe, a hammer would’ve been easy to get the “swing” of. But for those who knew Him growing up, that’s all He was; a carpenter. They’d already decided who He was to them and that was all He was ever going to be. Consider what the people of Nazareth said:

“Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? So they were offended at Him.” – Mark 6:3 NKJV

Imagine, Holy God literally standing there wanting to do great miracles while someone basically says, “That’s good and all, but my leaky barn roof could really use your attention.” If we’re not careful, our reaction and prayers can reflect the same type of attitude. God wants to do great things according to His plans, but our prayers are more along the lines of blueprints we’ve drawn up. Sometimes we even “spiritualize” self-centered pursuits with language that sounds right, but in the end is just a request to fix a “leaky roof”.

What perception do you have of Him today and how will your prayers reflect that?

2-26-16 “Reaching”

Pride and fear can build walls of separation. There was a woman in the Gospels who’d suffered much from a bleeding affliction for twelve years. In addition to the obvious physical challenges, she would have also been considered perpetually “unclean” according to Jewish law, (limiting her worship activities).

When Jesus came near, she saw an opportunity to be healed. However, it was unthinkable in that day for an unclean person to expect physical interaction with a rabbi…so she sneaked a touch. Reaching through the chaotic, thronging crowd, she made contact with Jesus’ clothes and healing power surged through her body like a lightning bolt. When He turned to inquire about the touch, she fell at His feet trembling and fearful, but Jesus said this:

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” – Mark 5:34 NKJV

Sometimes there is fear in the “reaching”. Sometimes pride prevents an extension of the hand to admit we need Him. But the truth is, we NEED Him! His healing power is available and His grace can cleanse a dirty life. What do you need to reach out for today? There is nothing like the touch of the Master!

2-25-16 “Peace”

Storms can be scary and destructive. Hot/cold air collisions and seasonal change can produce some nasty weather. In our personal life, it’s also true that changing winds can bring a storm. In the Gospels, there’s a pivotal moment where the disciples sailed into rough seas while Jesus slept; and they were petrified. From their perspective, the crashing waves would rip their boat apart at any moment…but then Jesus spoke:

“Peace, be still!” – Mark 4:39a NKJV

Instantly there was calm…astonishment…gratitude…worship…bewilderment and a deep realization of the powerful presence of ALMIGHTY GOD!

Do you see dark clouds forming on the horizon of your life today? Perhaps you’re already in the midst of a raging storm and your boat is battered and taking on water. He alone can speak calm into your soul. The disciples admitted their fear. They even questioned His concern for their safety, but they were never in real danger because Jesus was in the boat. Is He in your life today? If so, He’s near. Call out to Him and listen for His powerful words of peace…

2-24-16 “Tiny”

Big results in God’s kingdom often start very small. Jesus explained it this way:

“To what shall we liken the Kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds of the earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.” – Mark 4:30-32 NKJV

The contrast between the size of the seed and the mature plant has everything to do with the Designer. Inside of the tiny seed is the complete information for large sturdy branches. It may start very small, but once placed in the ground, the process begins and growth follows. However, as amazing as it is, even a mustard seed must be actually sown in order to produce something. It can be something done, said, given-up, started, shared, prayed for, and more. What “mustard-seed” do you need to sow in faith today?

2-23-16 “Sowing”

The seed parable is a powerful illustration. Found in Luke 8:4-15, it describes four different results of the same type of seed falling onto the ground. A combining of the story with Jesus’ explanation renders four pictures:

  • The Hard Soil-no fruit at all (seed stolen by the devil)
  • The Rocky Soil-grows quick, but soon withers (fell away during testing from lack of roots)
  • The Thorn-filled Soil-growth choked out by thorns (the cares and pleasures of this world preventing maturity)
  • The Good Soil-growth, maturity and fruit (a heart desiring to hear, respond, and endure)

Consider these three reminders today:

  • The seed contains life-Jesus emphasized the seed (the Word) and the soil receiving it, not the sower. The seed itself produces life, not the one handling it or the clever use of it.
  • The results aren’t up to the sower-It’s not productive to attempt forcing growth where it’s not happening, nor is it right to claim credit when it does (1 Cor. 3:6-7).
  • Time is the test-Eventually, the nature of the soil and the response to the truth will become clear; be prayerfully patient.

Be a sower. Whether it’s spoken, written, emailed or tweeted; God’s Word is life-giving. How will you share it today?

2-22-16 “Labels”

We can be labeled many things by others; “nice”, “mean”, “attractive”, “talented”, “clumsy”, etc. Some are welcome-some aren’t. In the Bible, there’s a lot of people who knew about labels. One of them encountered Jesus while in a lifestyle so colorful the entire town knew of it. But when Luke introduces her to us, she had recently received a new label. In Luke chapter 7, it’s recorded that she went into a dinner gathering at Simon’s house to express her love and gratitude to the Lord. After washing His feet with her tears, she opened an alabaster flask and anointed Him with an expensive, fragrant oil (which of course, produced some discussion). After making a point through an illustration of creditor and debtor, Jesus turned to the woman and spoke the most important words any of us could ever hope to hear:

“Your sins are forgiven…your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” – Luke 7:48-50 NKJV

Forgiven.” As broken, self-centered people, what could possible compare to that status as we stand before Holy God? Through gracious love, He’s given us something we couldn’t earn in a thousand lifetimes. Certainly, there are many wonderful things to talk about regarding the Christian life, but nothing more central to who we are than the invaluable label of “Forgiven”. How will you wear it today?

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