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Archive for June, 2011

Mark 11:22 (20-26) “And Jesus answered saying to them, Have faith in God.

I don’t think Jesus was telling His disciples that they too, could curse fig trees if they only believe.

A prophet is a person who has placed their life at the disposition of God. Whatever He tells them to do they do to the letter. They don’t have to agree with or understand what God commands; they just need to do it. The miracles the prophets perform are all for the specific purpose of enhancing the message.

All of Jesus miracles pointed to Him being a special messenger of God. All of God’s messengers have the ability to do the impossible or unbelievable to help others get the message. As believers we are only here with a message we must deliver to our friends and family. Through prayer we can do the impossible and get a person off the road to Hell and on the road to Heaven.

When Jesus cursed the fig tree He was doing the will of His Father. He prayed to the Father and the Father killed the fig tree. Jesus knew it would die, not because he killed it, but because He knew the will of His Father and obeyed.

So the question for us is, what do we know or think we know? The will of our Father is usually pretty obvious, if we’re listening.

Attentiveness involves looking, listening and learning the will of God, the way of God and the commands of God.

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June 29.11 ethot

Mark 11:6 (12-19) “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!

At around the time Jesus saw the fig tree there would have been no figs on it. What He should have found was an eatable bud. A sort of pre-fruit that came out at the same time the leaves would have. These buds would normally have fallen off, and of course passers-by would have eaten some, before the real fruit would show up a few months later.

I think that in His role as prophet the cursing of the fig tree was a picture of Israel. He had come searching for fruit and all He found was a den of thieves in the temple, where He should have found the prayers of His people. In 70 AD Rome came down on Israel and crushed it. In that process the temple burned down and the soldiers scraped the melted gold off the stones, effectively leveling the temple. There has been no fruit since.

Israel will become fruitful again for seven years during the great tribulation, Daniel 9:24-27.

When Jesus comes again for His church what will he find? Will He find the church looking to God or looking to themselves… will we be ready, 1 Thessalonians 5:6?

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

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June 28.11 ethot

Mark 11:6 (1-11) “They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission.

With this story begins what’s understood as the Passion Week. Beginning on the day following the Sabbath, having come from Jericho, they were at the Mt. of Olives when Jesus told them to get the colt.

This story also fulfills, in part, the prophecy of Zechariah (9:9) because in the next few days the people who hailed Him as their king would call for His crucifixion. The final or full fulfillment of that prophecy will then occur when Jesus returns after the seven-year celebration with His bride the church, Revelation 4&5.

Although the disciples or the people of Jerusalem weren’t completely aware of the prophecies Jesus was and was very concerned about their accurate fulfillment. I quote this verse today because I want us to be totally aware of the roll of prophet that Jesus has played during His life here. In this passage He only partly plays out the role of king and will, in a few days, play the first part of His roll as high priest. There is no one else, ever, who can fill those three positions perfectly, only Jesus.

Initiative involves taking action to follow God completely.

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June 24.11 ethot

Mark 10:45 (35-45) “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

I think we too often get hung up on the first/last comments Jesus made and forget the service comments.

I don’t think that Jesus was really emphasizing as a fact that those who are first will actually be last or those who are last will actually be first. There are good people on both ends.

We live in a world where being first, or close to those who are first, is the most important thing in life. We tend to live according to how we perceive ourselves as being first, second, third or last. The disciples weren’t any different, but Jesus wants us to understand that our lives here as His representatives, are not about being first or last. Since none of us has ever been to heaven we have no idea what life is like there and what our attitudes will be like until we get there.

And, although it is tempting to think about right now being first or second or last is not important, 10:40. What is important is my willingness to do what ever it takes to help others come to a saving knowledge of Jesus (10:39) and then help them help another do the same for another. This is the service Jesus came to perform it is the service we’re to perform.

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

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June 23.11 ethot

Mark 10:32 (29-34) “and Jesus was walking on ahead of them.

Yesterday we saw that Jesus told His disciples that whoever gives everything up to follow Him will receive a hundred times what they gave up. But in that receiving will also include being the rejected and outright hated of the world, 10:30.

Jesus then takes advantage of the time to share with them something that was probably on His mind, His future suffering on the cross. What He describes is not only what He will suffer but what others will suffer as well… for Him!

Can you imagine the kind of pressure Jesus was going through, the temptation to throw it all away saying these people are not worth it? It just looks like Jesus wanted to vent about the pressure He was feeling because He now understood what was going to happen. And, maybe rushing up to Jerusalem and get it all over with was the thing to do? Was Jesus walking too fast for them?

There will be times when like Jesus we will wonder if the decision to follow the will our heavenly Father is worth it or not. But in those times we must remember that we will only be here for a short time compared to eternity, that there is a greater reward to come and then to keep going on.

Endurance involves sticking to God’s goals in God given responsibilities when you would rather give up.

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June 22.11 ethot

Mark 10:23 (17-31) “How hard it will be for those that are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!

In a way I’m glad I wasn’t there when Jesus uttered those words, because I wouldn’t have understood Him either. The Holy Spirit would later bring all these things to remembrance and then they would understand, John 14:26.

If we keep in mind the story of the man who had just left (10:17-22), saddened because he was rich, then you’ll understand. The rich man defines himself by his possessions, but our possessions, whether they are money or treasures or degrees or fame or political power won’t get us into God’s kingdom. Only faith, the faith of a child, that complete surrender (10:21) will permit you to enter and become a citizen. That decision is the only thing that will define who you are to God.

Then Jesus describes for us the earthly reward of that decision to accept Christ as our savior from that sure judgment to come. Whatever possessions and relationships we loose for the sake of the Gospel we gain so much more. This is because when we make that decision we enter into a new family willing to give you the shirt off their back, 10:30.

See, being a citizen of the kingdom of God means no longer being a citizen of the world we leave behind. It also means becoming part of a new family able and willing to meet your every physical and emotional need.

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

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June 21.11 ethot

Mark 10:15 (13-22) “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter at all.”

I believe these two seemingly separate stories are connected. When we look at the man who comes to Jesus he didn’t really come like a child. He had already determined that what he was doing would earn him eternal life. The man was just looking for confirmation.

The first question Jesus asks him is, do you know to whom you are talking? (10:18) Then Jesus gives him a list of the second half of the Ten Commandments (these are the commands related to our relationships with one another), 10:19. When the man said that he had fulfilled them, Jesus understood that the man wasn’t getting it at all, 10:21a. So Jesus gives him one more test asking him to sell all he had and come follow Him, 10:21b.
The word that kept coming to mind as I looked at this passage was trust. See the first half of the Ten Commandments deal with our relationship to God. The man loved his possessions more than God, he trusted in them rather than God.

Children don’t come looking for confirmation, they come looking to be loved and cared for. Children trust completely what their elders (parents, teachers, nannies) tell them, because children can sense that you care and know they need help.

So, when I come to God I come seeking direction and trusting everything He says because He’s never been wrong before with me. That means to me He loves me and so I’ll do what He says, no matter what it sounds like.

Humility involves understanding how easy it is to deceive yourself into thinking that you don’t need any help.

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