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Archive for May, 2011

May 31.11 ethot

Mark 6:11 (1-13) “shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.

I wonder if Jesus shook the dust off His feet as he left Nazareth?
As Jesus instructed His team to go out and preach the good news, that the Messiah had come and they should repent and turn anew to the God of heaven, He prepared them for rejection.

We tend to focus on the miracles in these stories, but they were only backing up the message being delivered. I’m sure that as they returned to Jesus to report on their day’s activities they were all excited about the healings and cast out demons. But the real question was and is did anyone change?

As each of us prepare for the work our Lord has called each of us to do we shouldn’t concern ourselves with whether our own friends and neighbors will understand or whether we perform in a miraculous way. The real question is, did anyone change?

Just as Jesus came here to be an instrument in God’s hands to change lives, so we remain here to be God’s current instruments to change lives. We’re not here to do the changing, just to be implemental. The question for us is, are we ready?

Faith involves letting God do what He does while you do what your supposed to do.

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May 30.11 ethot

Mark 6:4 (1-6) “A prophet is not without honor except in his own hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.
All four Gospels seem to mention this same incident directly or indirectly. Not only did the people of the town not accept Him but his own relatives including immediate family. It would seem strange, because wouldn’t you feel proud of the successes of any of your family members?

I don’t know why Matthew and Mark don’t give us the detail that Luke does, but his explanation can help us understand why the fuss, Luke 4:14-30. It was at that moment that Jesus had chosen to officially announce who He was and what He was here to do. When you take all the accounts into mind you understand that He had already started His work outside of Nazareth, months before. From the perspective of some Jesus had a lot of nerve coming into town whenever He felt like and making such an announcement.

It is amazing at the things we use to keep us from our focus on the things God wants from us. Jesus pointed out that like in the days of Elijah the peoples’ minds were not thinking about their God the way they should have been. Israel and the people of His hometown were in that same place. It kind of makes you wonder where our minds are right now.

Faith involves letting God do what He does while you do what your supposed to do.

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May 26.11 ethot

Mark 5:2 (1-20) “When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him,

This story is told in three of the Gospel accounts, with three different emphases: Matthew’s interest was in the power of Jesus over demons; Luke’s interest was in the man himself and Mark ‘s interest was in the action. Matthew mentions two men, while Mark and Luke only focus on the one who was most troublesome to the people of the region.

None of the three tell us how this particular one got to be possessed, almost as if the was irrelevant, John 9:1-3. For Mark the point of the telling is as much that Jesus has power over the underworld as that we need to take advantage of our life experiences as a way to connect with others to share the Gospel.

It’s interesting that the man didn’t ask Jesus to heal him, maybe because there had been others who only seemed to provide a useless hope. Or, maybe the man was asking, indirectly for help. In either case, Jesus knew who this man was. He was a man in need of the mercy and grace of God, 5:19. Maybe his story is like the story of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4?

Alertness is not just to danger. It involves paying attention to opportunities God presents for real change, right now.

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May 27.11 ethot

Mark 5:43 (21-43) “and He said that something should be given her to eat.

This story is a contrast in faith. Although Jairis believed Jesus could heal his daughter of a severe illness, he didn’t believe Jesus could handle death. In all fairness to Jairis, no one believed that anyone could bring the dead back to life, except God.

But the woman, in total desperation through caution to the wind and believed Jesus could do the impossible, even for someone like herself. When she was healed the joy must have been overwhelming. It is kind of strange that many were touching Jesus and nothing was happening to them. Yet, Jesus could sense what had happened and turned not to condemn the woman’s presumption, but to commend it.

I can only imagine what Jairis’ thoughts must have been when told that his daughter had died. Did he look at Jesus and then the woman and wonder what he should or shouldn’t think, should he be presumptuous as well and just believe the impossible? Jesus didn’t even let him speak and reassured him that faith was all he needed.

Now Jesus said something really strange. He told them to feed the girl because she was hungry. Maybe Jesus did this because at times we get so distracted with what we’re expecting God to do that we forget what we’re supposed to be doing?

Faith involves letting God do what He does while you do what your supposed to do.

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May 26.11 ethot

Mark 5:2 (1-20) “When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him,

This story is told in three of the Gospel accounts, with three different emphases: Matthew’s interest was in the power of Jesus over demons; Luke’s interest was in the man himself and Mark ‘s interest was in the action. Matthew mentions two men, while Mark and Luke only focus on the one who was most troublesome to the people of the region.

None of the three tell us how this particular one got to be possessed, almost as if the was irrelevant, John 9:1-3. For Mark the point of the telling is as much that Jesus has power over the underworld as that we need to take advantage of our life experiences as a way to connect with others to share the Gospel.

It’s interesting that the man didn’t ask Jesus to heal him, maybe because there had been others who only seemed to provide a useless hope. Or, maybe the man was asking, indirectly for help. In either case, Jesus knew who this man was. He was a man in need of the mercy and grace of God, 5:19. Maybe his story is like the story of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4?

Alertness is not just to danger. It involves paying attention to opportunities God presents for real change, right now.

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May 25.11 ethot

Mark 4:38 (35-41) “Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion;

I don’t know about today but it was understood that back in Jesus day because the Sea of Galilee was in a valley it was home to violent winds that contributed to many stormy seas. In a way it was an everyday occurrence, no one acted as if God had caused anything strange to happen, it was just the way things were.

It’s a habit of ours, as humans, to read too much into everyday occurrences. Understanding that this could happen it didn’t bother Jesus at all. And, the fact that He knew His mission wasn’t complete helped Him to remain so calm He could sleep even in a storm.

A lot of things will happen around us and to us as we apply ourselves to the mission for which the Lord has left us here to do. We can assume that all of them can be learned from and used to help us share the Gospel more effectively, but not everything that happens, happens to bless or curse. Some things just happen!

Now, where is that cushion?

Decisiveness involves maintaining our commitments in spite of the distractions of life.

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Mark 4:30 (30-34) “How shall we picture the kingdom of God,

The picture is that of a tree in a garden that provides shade and protection for birds and other animals. The picture is interesting, in part, because He quotes from the book of Daniel where the angel comes and orders the tree to be chopped down (that tree was the Babylonian empire), Daniel 4. It makes you wonder if there will come a time when the church will need to be chopped down as well.

The obvious message is that the church will grow and become large enough to have a great impact over all of our lives, 4:30-34. It will become a place of refuge and provision for all who are in need. Whether you are a believer or not the church has had a direct and indirect impact on so many lives.

Some believe that in the book of Revelation there are 7 letters addressed to 7 churches, but that they represent the development of the church throughout history, Revelation 2-3. The last church, Laodicea, is understood to be the last phase in the process followed by the Tribulation period. That church represents the church full of itself and having lost its true purpose to plant the seed of the gospel and wait to harvest it. That might be a church in need of some chopping.

Endurance involves staying focused on our God given objectives in spite of all the distractions Satan will throw our way.

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