Friday, October 31, 2014

Mark 1:23-17

23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, 24 “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

25 Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.

27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!”

On a day filled with images of evil and all sorts of wicked parties, it is good to know that our Savior makes demons tremble and that they must do as He commands. The father of lies sneaks around in the dark, bent on destruction and pain masked as something else. Our Father is a God of healing and justice who shines brightly in truth.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mark 6:34-43

34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”

37 But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!”

38 “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”

They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.

41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. 42 They all ate as much as they wanted, 43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. 44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.

Jesus sets the example here that when I see a need then I should fill that need instead of pointing them in a direction to fend for themselves. Jesus walked them through the process of taking a known need, figuring out what resources are available and then allowing room for Him to work. The faith to move in the direction God is calling me allows Him to take one person's lunchbox worth of resources and provide for thousands of people to eat their fill.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mark 6:21-25

21 Herodias’s chance finally came on Herod’s birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. 22 Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” 23 He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!”

24 She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?”

Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!”

25 So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!”

26 Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, 28 brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother. 29 When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.

This was a different time when someone's word was actually valuable because they were bound by it to what they had promised. I long for these days when I could just count on someone following through because they were accountable to the whole community for what they had said. These days I see far too many times people saying one thing and doing another. Lord, help me to act upon my words because what I say and do reflects You to this world.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mark 5:24-34

24 Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him. 25 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

30 Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”

31 His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”

32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

Imagine suffering your entire life with a condition that has no known cure. Imagine spending all you have in chasing after something to heal your condition only to have it get worse. Imagine a Savior comes who can heal you completely and all it takes is to believe that He can cure you. The reality of my condition is that I am a sinner and no matter what I do I cannot heal myself of sin - but Jesus can.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Proverbs 26:17

Interfering in someone else’s argument
    is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears.

When there is a disagreement things can get out of hand quickly on their own without someone else getting involved. The phrase, "Mind your own business" comes to mind here but no matter what direction I try to steer my life in - it is God who determines my course in life. (Proverbs 16:9) My life should be focused on getting to know God and being about His business, so that He can take care of my business and everyone else's.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Jonah 2:1-9

1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish. 2 He said,

“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble,
    and he answered me.
 I called to you from the land of the dead,
    and Lord, you heard me!
3 You threw me into the ocean depths,
    and I sank down to the heart of the sea.
 The mighty waters engulfed me;
    I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.
4 Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence.
    Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’

5 “I sank beneath the waves,
    and the waters closed over me.
    Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.
6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.
    I was imprisoned in the earth,
    whose gates lock shut forever.
 But you, O Lord my God,
    snatched me from the jaws of death!
7 As my life was slipping away,
    I remembered the Lord.
 And my earnest prayer went out to you
    in your holy Temple.
8 Those who worship false gods
    turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,
    and I will fulfill all my vows.
    For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”

It is so comforting to read that even in Jonah's attempt to run, God pursued him and protected Jonah from a death at sea. God has had a plan for me from the moment of conception (Psalms 139:13) and has been working on me ever since.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Jonah 1:1-3

1 The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”

3 But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.

It can be daunting to hear the God's command to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). People seem so set in their ways of disobedience, it is easy for me to think that they will not receive the message with open arms. What I forget is that God has a plan and purpose that is at work far before I ever get to that place and I can rely on Him to use my simple seed planting to grow a large harvest.