Monthly Archives: April 2009

Legendary Devotion

We don’t entertain at our home a lot but when we do it is typically something that we plan somewhat carefully. My husband and I consider what activities our guests enjoy, what foods and drinks they like, if we should lock up our dogs. We want our friends to enjoy their time with us and know that we have taken the time to prepare some ‘extra amenities’ (like the nice, non-cartoon themed bathroom towels) for them. 

 

Imagine if Jesus was coming over to hang out and have a meal. I would hope that we would do more than our customary clean sweep of the house (or at lest the visible parts of the house) and breaking out of the nice serving platters. But what would we really do to honor the King of Kings if he were in our home?

 

In Mark 14:3-9 Jesus visits Mary, Martha and Lazarus in their home and shares a meal with His friends. During the meal Mary walked into the room carrying a jar of expensive perfume and anointed Jesus with it as a sign of honor. While some of the dinner guests scoffed that she was squandering such an expensive item, Mary poured the perfume over His head in an act of devotion. 

 

What would I do to show my devotion to the one I call God? Would I think that offering Jesus the ‘extra amenities’ of my life is a sufficient honor…the fancy hand soaps perhaps? Or would I offer a sacrificial act of worship and devotion to honor him in my presence? If I’m being honest on most days I offer Him the hand soaps – just enough to show that I am going a little bit above my own expectation but not enough to truly show my devotion.

 

Mark 14:9 is the verse that really spoke to me in this passage. “Truly I say to you, where ever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will be spoken of in memory of her.” I long to be so devoted to Jesus that my acts of love would make history in all the world for all generations! I pray that I will be forgiven for foolishly offering Jesus only the extra amenities of my life. I pray that I will daily honor Him with sacrificial acts of devotion and worship and that His spirit will work in me to transform my small acts of worship into heart felt legendary acts of devotion that truly honor my God. 

 

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What Do I Have to Offer?

As I read through the passages today the theme of offerings really stood out to me. In these three chapters Jesus gives three very clear examples of what we should be offering to God.

 

Mark 10:21 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.” In this verse a man who is a follower of the commandments and who Jesus looks on with love is told that he must sacrifice everything he has in order to inherit eternal life. Upon hearing that he has to offer all of his earthly treasure in order to gain treasures in heaven his face fell and he went away sad. I wonder if he later regretted his decision.

 

Sometimes it’s really easy for me to get caught up in following the rules. If I can check off everything on my ‘Good Girl’ list I assume that I am pleasing God. This verse reminds me that God wants so much more form me. He wants me to offer all that I have without reservation, no looking back. I need to challenge myself to give all that I have and all that I am without regret. I can admit that I’m not there yet.

 

Mark 12:33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices. If my ambition is to experience the kingdom of God I am closest when I am putting the interests of God and others before myself. I am commanded to give myself (my time, my resources, my attention) to God and my neighbor as an offering more pleasing than any other. I’m not there yet either (and am sensing a pattern).

Mark 12:42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” Here’s what I know, whenever Jesus starts by saying he’s going to tell me the truth I know that I’m going to be in for it. If I truly want to please God I need to give him more than I can afford to give. I need to give my entire life for His will. Yikes. 

 

Needless to say I am not there yet either. But I can say that I am continually striving to make my life a sacrificial offering and am continually praying that he will help me to release the grip that I have on myself and learn to let go.

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Accepting My Opportunity

There is so much to cover in these two chapters that I don’t even know where to begin. So, as an intro let me start with a question. What is up with Mark 8:22-26? 

 

I have no answers or insights and would love some feedback. So far we have seen Jesus do tons of far out, crazy things including restoring sight. Why, in this passage, does he do it in two tries? It obviously isn’t because he can’t do it, we’ve seen him do it before. As with anything in the Bible, if it is there it’s there for a reason and I would love to hear your thoughts on this. 

 

I find v. 24 very interesting: He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” My assumption is that this verse has something to do with seeing things clearly but I can’t quite figure it out or see the application. Help! I would love to hear some interpretation. 

 

Mark 9:32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask Him about it. 

This verse jumped off the page at me. After being called into discipleship this group of men have been traveling with Jesus and witnessing first hand the fulfillment of ancient prophesy. They have lived out the intense experience of His public ministry and are now retreating from the crowds that followed them to Galilee and were being drawn into an intimate, personal time of teaching with the Master. Take in that thought for a moment. 

 

What would you do if you were being physically called away from your crazy, busy lifestyle to spend time alone with God? What would you do if he took you away from your family, your work, your routine and said ‘Come with me. I want to be alone with you. I want to teach you about who I am and explain all of the things I have said to you and all of the things you have seen, I want to equip you.”  What an opportunity! Yet the disciples did not understand the teaching and were to afraid to ask. What a missed opportunity!

 

The hard truth of this passage is that all to often God calls us into a solitary place so we can listen, learn, understand, be equipped. And all too often we miss the opportunity. I know I do. And like the disciples, I often find myself listening to God and not understanding the purpose of His message. Because His ways are NOT my ways it is easy for me to be confused or miss the point. 

 

And what happens when God sends me a message that I don’t really get? More often than not I chose not to ask him about it because I am afraid. What if he wants me to sacrifice something? Better not ask. What if he wants me to surrender my husband or my kids? Better not ask. What if he wants me to forgive or turn the other cheek? Better not ask. I would rather miss an opportunity to question, discern, and clarify Gods messages because I am afraid that if I do I will have to act on them. 

 

I pray that God will continue to call me into the quite even though he knows that I will squander my opportunity to ask and understand. I pray that, in His mercy, he will continue to share His inner most thoughts with me and that I will learn to trust Him enough to question Him when I don’t understand the meaning. I pray that I will be brave enough to hear the answers and will no longer let fear stand in the way of my blessing. 

 

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Glory and Honor?

Mark 6 1:6

 

    1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

     “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that’s been given him, that he even does miracles! 3 Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense with him.

    Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. (NIV)


I recently listened to a David Nasser message and he was recounting this spree of miracles that Jesus was on during the beginning of his public ministry. He said that people started freaking out about Jesus when they saw Him doing some seriously freaky things. So far in this book it has been non-stop signs and wonders, one after the other – a traveling freak show if you will. 


How could you not believe if you saw him heal the lame, give sight to the blind, raise the dead, drive out demons, cleanse the unclean and calm the sea? So when I read v.1-6 my initial thought was ‘Come on people, are you kidding me?” But really, when I think about it, their attitudes are far closer to mine than I would like to admit. If Jesus were to actually show up on the scene and raise my dear Aunt Betty from the grave I would have an absolute heart attack. How many others in the church (His home turf) would be having heart attacks right along with me? My bet would be most (I’ve been to lots of church pot lucks and nothing even near as exciting as water to wine has EVER happened). So, if I don’t expect Him to walk on water will he?


Here’s where it can potentially get really sad. When we, the home crowd, are not expecting a miraculous encounter with the living God we aren’t going to get one. We may receive a few acts of mercy (v.5) but nothing that even compares to the signs and wonders that He demonstrates when we ask and have faith to believe. And what is the result of this shallow faith? Those around me, who know me and may not know Him, are watching and waiting for the signs and wonders that I don’t have the faith to claim. And when all they see are routine, mundane words and deeds they may easily take offense to Him (v.3) and my God is amazed by my lack of faith.


Check out the ‘What Do I Know of Holy’ by Addison Road. I love this song and share it as a prayer that we, the church, would recognize how little we really know of Holy. That we would acknowledge the limits of our faith and would begin to ask, no beg, the One who spoke us into motion to do mighty, awesome, freaky things in our midst. Even more I pray that we will have so much faith that we actually expect to see them.


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The Power of Jesus

Think you for all of your great comments yesterday. I learned from everyone’s insights and would like to see more! Please forward the blog information on to anyone who may be interested. 

 

MARK 3-5

 

I don’t have a ‘life verse’ per say. I know many people who do but I have never been able to pick one verse that encapsulates all that I live out in God. I do have three verses that I use as guideposts for my faith and that I use for daily reflection:

 

Exodus 33:11 (My RELATIONSHIP verse) Reminds me that when I come daily into a ‘place’ of meeting with God he is there, alive, inviting me into a personal conversation with Him, face to face like a friend not distant like a god. He is always available, He knows me, He longs to connect with me and make His presence known to me.

 

1 Samuel 2:19 (My OBEDIENCE verse) Reminds me that I have committed myself to complete, sacrificial obedience to the One who calls me. As a mom, I know that Hannah longed for Samuel as she carefully made him a little robe each year but she did not question the will of God, but obediently gave Him what was his with prayer and rejoicing even when it hurt.

 

Mark 5:27-28 (My FAITH verse) Reminds me that the magnitude of my faith is inline with the magnitude of my calling when I am in a desperate pursuit of Jesus. 

 

I love the mental picture of v.27, 28 “When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought “If I just touch his clothes I will be healed”. When I am feeling lost, desperate, alone, hopeless or helpless I remind myself that if I press through whatever is crowding me out and can get close enough just to touch the very tip of the hem of his garment He will call me out of the crowd and restore me. What is most amazing is that He will use me as an instrument for revealing His glory when I publicly seek Him out. He is the source of my healing and restoration. 

I’m hoping that some of you bible scholars can leave some teaching comments about his cloak, tassels, healing wings, etc. (David Hutzko preached a great message on Mark 5:21-43 some time ago at Warren Woods Church of the Nazarene. Check the site for the recording if it is still available http://www.wwnazarene.org/). Also, if you have a life verse, or guide verses share them in the comments. I would love to hear them. 

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Lights, Camera, Action

I’m happy to finally have this blog up and this study started. Plus, Mark 1 and 2 is a great way to start!

 

After I read through the first two Chapters in NIV I checked them out in The Message translation. I loved what the Message said in Chapter 1 v.7 “The real action comes next…” Think about that. Could there be a more fitting intro for the King of Kings? I know that the real action started in my life when I He was ‘announced’ to me and it hasn’t stopped yet (despite the fact that more often than not I am praying that the action will slow the heck down). 

 

It didn’t slow down in these passages either! I loved that the “action” in the first two Chapters included one miracle after another. As soon as He showed up on the scene so to speak, He began to reveal His power and His glory to everyone. Isn’t that exactly how it is when He shows up for in the “lonely places” (v.45) of our lives? 

 

The verse that stood out the most for me was 1:11, when Jesus is baptized. I had never read this verse in the Message before and it is fantastic: 

 

“You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life”. 

 

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that this is said immediately after Jesus submits to John’s baptism. I love what this says about God’s love for us. It leaves me breathless to think that the God of the universe has marked me with His love. He has chosen me. When I am obedient to His will and submit to His process I am the pride of His life. That is more than I can even begin to fathom. 

 

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