Lisa Thayer

The Known and Unknown Friends of Christ {Mark 14}

12:00 AM



By Lisa Thayer

We begin Chapter 14 with Jesus and His disciples at the home of Simon the Leper. Jesus must have healed Simon, although we don’t read it here. Simon would have lived in the tombs and not in Bethany because a leper was considered unclean. So we can assume Jesus healed him and now in his gratitude he has invited Jesus and the followers of Jesus into his home to share a meal.

In verses 3, we read that Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anoints Jesus’ head with very expensive perfume. Anointing is not something we are accustomed to in Western culture. But in the Eastern culture, every great somebody gets anointed. In the Old Testament they anointed their kings, their priests, and their prophets. It was something done out of love and exultation. We in the West find it strange for a man to be anointed with perfume – it would be unmanly for us, but not to them. It is a beautiful and precious ritual.

This perfume Mary uses to anoint Jesus is worth one year’s wage for a man. When we first met Mary, she simply sat at Jesus’ feet listening to Jesus teach. She didn’t spend much time preparing for the needs of all of His followers, she left that to her sister Martha. Mary owes Jesus so much. Jesus raised her brother Lazarus from the dead. She seemed to recognize the eternal life He had to offer. She also seemed to understand, better than even the disciples, why Jesus was going to die. So this anointing was for Jesus – something beautiful and precious she had to offer Him in return. Love is extravagant isn’t it?

Judas, the only Judean (the only cultured and educated one), the elected treasurer of the group, sees this as an outlandish and unbelievable act. And the other disciples join him in his observation of this wasted performance and ridicule Mary by saying that this perfume could have been sold for a year’s wages and given to the poor.

Jesus tells them to leave her alone because she has done a beautiful thing. Jesus had told the disciples three times already that He would die. “She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial” (v. 8b). And Jesus tells them that she will be remembered whenever the gospel is preached. (v. 9). Jesus praises her for her unselfish act of worship. The essence of worshiping Christ is to regard Him with the utmost love, respect and devotion, and to be willing to sacrifice to Him what is most precious.

In verse 12, Jesus sends two disciples to go and prepare for the Passover. It doesn’t tell us here in Mark, but in Luke 22:8 we find out He sent Peter and John. Who does Jesus tell them they will meet? A man carrying a jar of water. I discovered that men of that time did not carry jars or jugs of water, the women did, so it would be obvious for Peter and John to notice this man. And they were to “Follow him.” I found this passage very interesting as it appears that Peter and John are preparing something for Jesus, but really, it’s Jesus who has prepared it all. He had taken care of all the details. All Peter and John had to do was to “Follow him.”

This unknown man, who will be easily recognizable, has a house and a room, already prepared. We don’t ever find out who this man is. He’s just a humble, plain ole man, never to be exalted, never named, but loves the Lord.

I have to admit, I have found myself like Elijah at times, feeling like ‘I’m the only one.’ Do you remember that? In 1 Kings 19:14, Elijah complained that he thought he was the only one left. But what did God tell him? “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” What about Paul when he was discouraged in Corinth? Corinth was full of heathens. Paul had just come from Athens where they scoffed and laughed at him. What does Jesus tell Paul? “…I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:10)

Do you ever feel discouraged because no one seems to listen to you? Maybe you are not being noticed for your change in lifestyle now that you are a Christian. And you simply feel all alone…
Back to the upper room. Where do the disciples return after Jesus is crucified? They gather in this upper room. Where does Jesus appear to the disciples? In this upper room. Where does Jesus appear to Thomas after he doubted Jesus’ resurrection? In this upper room. Where does the Holy Spirit come to the disciples? The upper room. This humble, unnamed man, whom Jesus prepared to be ready for all of these events, must have loved Jesus extravagantly to give out of what he had over and over.
Have you ever noticed that when you find the rejection of Christ, it is among those who are the prominent? But what about those people who chose to live among the unreached? They humbly go about their lives just talking about Jesus to their neighbors. They are unelected. They are very humble and unassuming. Unknown. They are those willing to give out of what they have and share the grace of God with those around them. They are devoted to the Word of God and offer hospitality to their neighbors.

Am I lost in the service I do for Christ? Can I let go of what it will cost me to serve Him? Can I give out of my wealth? Is my love and devotion ready to welcome Jesus at any moment? Am I humble enough to follow the fragrance of Jesus? Am I willing to be unknown for my service?

End of Times

The Olivet Discourse {Mark 13}

12:00 AM

The Olivet Discourse {Mark 13}


By Lisa Moore

This chapter in Mark is a very important prophetic chapter, because it contains detailed prophecies made by Jesus concerning future events.

It begins with Jesus leaving the Temple in Jerusalem where He had been teaching.  One of the disciples who was obviously overwhelmed by the temple's beauty said to Jesus, "Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!" (v. 1).  But instead of agreeing, Jesus tells him that this magnificent structure would instead be completely destroyed.  This came true in 70 A.D. when the Romans under the ruler Titus ransacked Jerusalem, killed a million Jews, and demolished the temple.  Titus's soldiers set the temple on fire and then literally pried stone from stone to recover the gold leaf that had melted from the roof when the temple was burned.  What only remained, were huge foundation stones that formed footings for the retaining wall under the entire Temple Mount.  It is a portion of the western side of that retaining wall which today is called the Wailing Wall. 

Jesus and His disciples then climb the Mount of Olives where they find a spot to sit which overlooks the city and the temple.  Peter, James, John, and Andrew question Jesus asking, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?", (v. 4).  Thus begins a great sermon given by Jesus known as the Olivet Discourse in which He mentions the many signs and wonders that would point to His soon return.

Jesus begins by warning us to "shamar", or to take heed.  In fact, Jesus echoes this warning thought out the Chapter.  He's telling us to keep our eyes and ears open for, "Many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He!' and will mislead many." (v.6).  The only way we can defend ourselves from deceit is by knowing the truth.  The Bible contains the only whole real truth.  We need to check everything against what Jesus has to say about it.  Many false religions and prophets will try to deceive us claiming to be the answer to all of our problems.  Some will claim to me the Messiah Himself.  We must trust in the truth of God's Word.

Next Jesus tells us of wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, and natural disasters which He refers to as the "beginning of sorrows", or as "birth pangs".  Just as birth pangs are infrequent at first and then intensify as just before delivery, so it will be in the world before Jesus' return.  Believers will be persecuted, betrayed, hated, and killed.  But Jesus tells us to stand strong. To draw near to Him, and trust Him regardless of the storm around us. There is no doubt that there will be times when we will suffer because of our love for Jesus, but the glory and grace that is ours in Him for eternity outweighs every trial we may face.  And Jesus promises in verse 13, "You will be hated by all  because of My name, but the one who endures will be saved."

We are then told to beware of the sign of the "Abomination of Desolation."  In 167 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanies, a Greek ruler, set up an alter to Zeus over the altar of burnt offerings in the temple in Jerusalem.  There he also sacrificed a pig.  This event was called the"Abomination of Desolation".  Here in Mark, Jesus is warning of another Abomination of Desolation in which the Antichrist who has established a covenant with Israel for seven years, then breaks it by doing something similar in the Jewish temple in the city of Jerusalem.   This will set off a chain of events that Jesus says, "....will be a time of tribulation such has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.  Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, who He chose, He shortened the days."  We are told that the sky will be dark, for neither the sun nor the moon will provide light.  Stars will fall from the sky, and the heavens will be shaken.  And after all of this, "Then they will see The Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory." (v. 26).

Those will be terrible times indeed. We as Christians are promised freedom from such punishment.  1Thess. 5:9 says, "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."  But even so, we are called to be spiritually alert and living productive lives for the kingdom of God.  We are to, "to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age , looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and a Savior, Christ Jesus..." (Titus 2:12-13).   Although we know not when, we know Jesus will return.  Are you ready?  Do you have things you plan to do but haven't gotten around to yet?  Maybe it's to read your Bible more, or start attending Church.  Maybe it's sharing your faith with others or forgiving someone who has hurt or sinned against you.   Whatever it is, don't wait waste another second.  Do not take for granted that you have tomorrow for as Jesus warns, "...you do not know when the appointed time will come." (v. 33).  

Hiding God’s Word in Your Heart {Scripture Saturday}

8:57 AM

love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength


By Sandra Wyatt

Welcome to Scripture Saturday! Today we continue our memorization of verses found in Mark with Mark 12:30…


This was an absolute requirement - the first commandment of all!

God was to be loved…

with all our heart - with the inmost part of us. Here is where our character is found, motivation, causes, wants, desires, will. God wants to be loved with all the heart so that no part of our essential being is not focused on Him.

with all our soul - our personality, our makeup, the part of us that expresses us…God is to be loved, preferred, and served with all of our expressive capacities.

with all our mind - our ability to understand, perceive, comprehend, think. God is to be loved with all of the mind, so that He is the One that we meditate upon, contemplate, and think about.

with all our strength - our might, our ability. Because all ability is given by God, it is to be given back to Him, loving and preferring Him above all else – for He is above all.

To love God with heart, soul, mind and strength is to love God with all that we are.
Have a precious and blessed day everyone!

Angie Benjamin

Ambassadors of Love {Mark 12}

2:28 AM

Love God

By Angie Benjamin

Mark 12:17 "Then Jesus said to them "Give to the Caesar what is the Caesar's and to God what is God's" And they were amazed at him.

The religious leaders wanted to trap Jesus with a question that would either show him as a blasphemer or weird fanatic. Nevertheless he avoided the question by showing that, we, believers have a dual citizenship (1 Peter 2:17). Our citizenship in the nation (either USA, Mexico or me in Botswana) requires that we pay money for the services and benefits we receive.

What does the citizen in the Kingdom of Heaven require? that we pledge to God our primary obedience and commitment (Acts 4:18-19 and Acts 5:29).

As God's followers, we have legitimate obligations to both God and the government. It is important that we keep our priorities straight and when the two authorities conflict, our duty to God always must come first before our duty to the government.


God's Things

Let me include this list of duties I found useful from a commentary:

*The Biblical Illustrator

Mark 12:17
Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.
Our obligations to God and man

The spirit of the passage requires us to regard the rights of all beings as sacred, and to give to them all that is theirs.

I. What is due to God? Or what are the things, the property of God, which our Saviour here requires us to render to Him? “The earth is the Lord’s,” etc. Of course we, and all that we possess, are God’s property. More particularly-

1. Our souls with all their faculties.
2. Our bodies.
3. Our time.
4. All our knowledge and literary acquisitions.
5. Our temporal possessions.
6. Our influence.
He, then, who withholds from God any of these things, or any part of them, does not comply with the precept in the text.


II. What things are due from us to men?

1. All men have a right to our love.
2. To all whom God has made our superiors we owe obedience, submission and respect.
3. To our inferiors we owe kindness, gentleness and condescension.
4. Those of us who are members of Christ’s visible church, owe to each other the performance of all the duties which result from our connection.
5. There are some things which we owe our families and connexions. As husbands and wives.

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” - Mark 12: 29-31

God's laws are not burdensome. They actually reduce to two simple principles: love God and love others. These commands are from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18) It's only when we love God completely and care for others as we do for ourselves that we can fulfill the intent of the Ten Commandments and the other Old Testament laws.

According to Jesus these two commandments summarize all God's laws. May they rule in your thoughts decisions and actions today...and whenever we're uncertain on which course of action we should take, may we choose love...may we choose whatever truly demonstrates love for God and others!

The coin bearing the emperor's image should be given to the emperor: our lives, bearing God's image, belong to God. 

To ponder:
Am I giving to God what is rightfully his?

The Lord our God is one Lord - This is the foundation of the first commandment, yea, of all the commandments. The Lord our God, the Lord, the God of all men, is one God, essentially, though three persons. From this unity of God it follows, that we owe all our love to him alone. Deuteronomy 6:4 .Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Becky Bramlett Austin

Jesus Displays His Authority {Mark 11}

1:11 AM

My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.


By Becky Bramlett Austin

This chapter begins the last week of the earthly ministry of Jesus. Up until now, Jesus has kept a low profile about being the Messiah. But this week is different. This week Jesus shows himself publicly with humility and yet with such authority and boldness. 

His Entrance on a Donkey: Jesus makes his appearance with humility as He rides in on a borrowed and unbroken young donkey. What a contrast to the grand military processions the people of Rome were used to seeing. Jesus doesn't ride in on a majestic war horse but He rides in on a donkey, often thought of as a symbol of peace, and he fulfills prophecy: Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9 Jesus came in with work to accomplish, and determined purposes to fulfill. But did he meet the expectations of what the people wanted in a Messiah? I can’t help but wonder what happened to the crowds who cheered him, shouting “Hosannah, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Were these same people in the crowds who days later would shout “Crucify him”?

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree and Clears the Temple:

I searched the commentaries for the significance of the cursed fig tree and found it quite interesting that Jesus entered the temple the night before. He didn’t do anything but he just observed what was going on. We can be comforted that God observes the evil going on in this world too, and will address it in his desired time. The next morning he seeks fruit from a fig plant that to all appearances should have been a fruit producing plant because of it’s thriving abundance of green leaves. Jesus was disappointed to find no fruit and then he cursed it. The fig tree was symbolic of the Jewish church and priesthood which should have been producing fruit but was not. As he returns from the temple, the disciples observe that the once abundant plant has drastically shriveled from the roots up. The Jewish temple and priesthood would undergo a similar fate. It is quite a serious thing when God has been displeased and removed his blessings because he finds no fruit. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” John 15:5 What a great lesson for the churches of America to heed as well. We enjoy so many religious freedoms. Our churches today should be able to produce fruit in abundance but only if we keep Jesus as our focal point.

We are familiar with the bold display of righteous anger Jesus displayed when he returned to the Temple to clear it from the corruption that he had observed and which broke his heart. “And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. (v 19). Again, a great lesson for the churches of America to be concerned about. Just what is the focus of our worship centers today? Have we strayed from the intent of God? Have we moved Him out of the picture? Have we put our own agendas into place? And what about our homes? Is God the center of our homes? Do we produce fruit in our homes? What would Jesus observe if he came to our home unannounced? Would he have to clean house? Would he find that his authority is honored in our homes? Hopefully, he would be pleased to find that our homes are a place of worship, a house of prayer, and produce abundant fruit because we abide in Him.

Jesus

I Once Was Blind, But Now I See! {Mark 10}

12:00 AM




By Sue Desmarais

   Since beginning this study of a chapter a day through the New Testament, I’ve set a challenge for myself to try and determine why those who marked the chapters and verses in each letter did so where they did. In other words, I’m on the lookout each week to find a common thread that ties each passage together within each chapter.

This week it wasn’t until I got to blind Bartimaeus that I was able to see the connection. In each passage Jesus runs into people who were spiritually blind. Bartimaeus, though physically blind was the only one in this chapter to have the spiritual eyes to see Jesus for Who He was and all He had to offer him. Proving spiritual blindness is far more dangerous than physical blindness. 

  • The Pharisees were blinded by their traditions, or perhaps their position in their society. They didn’t want anyone or thing coming along to mess up the good thing they had going with both Jews and Gentiles.
  • The rich man was blinded by his wealth and couldn’t see that what Jesus had to offer him was of far greater value than all his treasure.
  •  James and John were blinded by position and power as well. They hoped their faithfulness in following Jesus would pay off big time one day when Jesus came into His kingdom. They had never heard of such a kingdom as Jesus’ where the least among them would be the greatest, but they would eventually understand once they received the Holy Spirit.


Only blind Bartimaeus could see what Jesus offered all of them and he didn’t hesitate to follow Jesus once given his physical sight as well.

The Bible has so much to say about spiritual blindness! Too much to include it all here, but allow me to share a few of the highlights from this week’s study! First about those who will never enter God’s Kingdom, even though they believe they will.

“For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”(John 9:39)

In saying this Jesus revealed that He came to heal the physically blind, but His coming would bring spiritual blindness to others who didn’t believe in Him.

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains (John 9:40-41).

The Bible also speaks often of the cause of spiritual blindness: “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Paul refers to Satan as the “god of this world.” masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and is the cause of all temptations (Luke 4:2; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Corinthians 7:5). Can you remember a time in your life when Jesus opened your eyes to the truth of the gospel? 

I hope so, but even believers are not safe from Satan’s schemes; just look at Peter’s warning to us in 1 Peter 5:8-9,
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, stand firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

Satan’s goal is to devour the weak that fall prey to temptation, fear, loneliness, worry, depression, and persecution. James and John were examples of this in Mark 10.

Let me ask you, has there been a time when you suddenly discovered that what you thought was this wonderful thing you were busy doing for the Lord, wasn’t so wonderful at all!? That there was actually something far better you could’ve been doing? Martha in Luke 10:38-42 is a perfect example for us, for she was so certain what she was doing was excellent that she tried to get Jesus to make her sister Mary help her and actually accused Jesus of not caring that she was doing all the work!

Spiritual blindness is a frightening condition that can impact all of us, so how can we keep from succumbing to it?  As believers, we have the Holy Spirit reigning in our lives to ward off Satan’s power and the world’s influence (1 John 4:13). John tells us, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15). 

BUT even if we belong to Christ Jesus, Satan will still continues to war within and without us. The weapons he uses are deceitful and crafty schemes to make us doubt and even stumble (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 4:14). Yet God has provided powerful weapons to ward off his attacks described in Ephesians 6:10-18.

 As believers we HAVE the ability to overcome him and remain in the light and never grow spiritually blind. For Jesus has given us His wonderful promise: “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Which means we’ve got to stay vigilant in apply God’s armor and walk closely beside Jesus each day until we’re safely home.


Lisa Thayer

Success and Salt {Mark 9}

9:50 AM

Salt of the World


By Lisa Thayer

Isn’t it great to succeed? Getting on top of it all is such a wonderful accomplishment. Natural giftedness is a fantastic achievement. In Mark 9, we will see a stark contrast between how society views greatness and how Jesus views greatness. I bet we’ve all had those moments of seeing things from God’s standpoint – up high. He has led us to that great achievement and we just want to stay up there. High and lifted up.

Peter, James and John actually get this glimpse of God’s glory – all His glory. But what happens… they descend that mountain and walk smack dab into the reality of our sin filled world and our lack of faith. Jesus tells Peter, James and John not to tell anyone what they witnessed until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. (v. 9)

Again, with all the disciples present, Jesus tells them a 2nd time about His death and resurrection (vs. 30-31). The first was in 8:31. It’s so difficult to understand why something we don’t like is happening. As we read this gospel story again, we struggle with understanding the disciple’s lack of faith. We don’t seem to understand why they have to hear and see things several times to understand. But isn’t that us? We go to church and participate in bible studies, I mean after all, we do have the complete bible right in front of us, and yet we don’t understand the first time around. Our eyes are opened in God’s timing.

The next encounter we read is this argument the disciples are having among themselves about who is the greatest. We don’t read it here in Mark, but in Luke 9 it says, “Jesus knew the reasoning of their hearts.” He knew, but wanted them to admit what it was they were arguing about.

“Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Proverbs 13:10
“A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.” Proverbs 22:2
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 3:14-16; 4:1-2
“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

Jesus doesn’t tell the disciples it was wrong to want to be great. The problem was they had a distorted concept of what made somebody great. And so Jesus answers their question.
“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11

“Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in sprit gain honor.” Proverbs 29:23

“The test of our spiritual life is the power to descend; if we have power to rise only, something is wrong. It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, but a man only gets there in order that afterwards he may get down among the devil-possessed and lift them up. We are not built for the mountains and the dawns of aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle. Spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mount. We feel we could talk like angels and live like angels, if only we could stay on the mount. The times of exaltation are exceptional, they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must be aware lest our spiritual selfishness wants to make them the only time.

After every time of exaltation we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they are where it is neither beautiful nor poetic nor thrilling. The height of the mountain top is measured by the drab drudgery of the valley; but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mount, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the sphere of humiliation that we find our true worth to God, that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at the heroic pitch because of the natural selfishness of our hearts, but God wants us at the drab commonplace pitch, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship to Him. Peter thought it would be a fine thing for them to remain on the mount, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mount into the valley, the place where the meaning of the vision is explained.” Oswald Chambers.

The last line of this chapter is “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, be at peace with each other.” v. 50

I just love this line because salt is a preservative. When salt is rubbed into meat, its purpose is to slow down the decay. As a disciple we are to act as a preservative to this world, especially to those entrusted to our care, such as our loved ones. We keep things fresh and alive. We help to defeat corruption and decay. We add purity where behavior is questionable. As Christians we can retain Kingdom virtues, hold onto what we know is true according to Scripture, and cling to what is right.
As Christians, we offer encouragement, hope, kindness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, patience, and love. And just like salt adds flavor, it enhances whatever it touches, we as believers bring flavor to life. We sprinkle life with the seasoning of Christ’s presence radiating in us and through us by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus warns us to not lose those characteristic and qualities within us that bring life to this world, that prevents decay. When we lose our Christian values, our teaching, or morals, our ethics, our character, our integrity, and so on – we are worthless to the world. It is then that we do not serve God’s purpose for us, we become tasteless and unsalty and cannot perform our intended function. Christ challenges us to be the salt of the earth. Don’t think that your life doesn’t count. Through the Holy Spirit living in us, we are the preservers, the ones used to make others thirst after righteousness. And sometimes there isn’t enough salty flavor, so we add more. It may take more than one shake to season those around us.

Bread of Life

The Bread of Life {Mark 8}

7:22 AM

The Bread of Life {Mark 8}



By Lisa Moore

When reading chapter 8, what stuck with me was Mark's account of Jesus feeding the thousands. He describes a large crowd who has gathered to witness miracles, seek healing, and hear the teaching of Jesus. These people had been there for three days, and were without food. Knowing that some would not make the return journey home without fainting, Jesus shows compassion on them by multiplying the few loaves of bread and fishes and feeds them all. (As a side note did you know that bread being a carbohydrate gives us energy, while fish being a protein gives us endurance? A perfect analogy of the Word of God!)

Before when reading the gospels, I would glance over this particular miracle Jesus performed. After all it isn't as exciting as raising people from the dead, or walking on water. But it is just as important. It was important enough, that twice when Jesus feed the masses, both times were recorded. But other than the lesson of showing love and compassion what else could I glean?

My first thoughts were of the similarities of the two feeding miracles. The first account happened in the Jewish area of Galilee where Jesus fed five thousand. This second account as told in Mark 8, happens in a different part of the country among the Gentiles where Jesus feeds four thousand. In both situations, Jesus took the little amount of fish and loaves, and multiplied them greatly. He shared the same blessing with both the Jews and the Gentiles. That was why He came. To be a blessing to all. To be the living bread that nourishes our souls. Jesus Himself says in John 6:35 says, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst."

For me this is also a lesson in trusting Him completely. When Jesus shares His plan with the disciples to feed the people, they once again doubt His ability by asking, "Where would anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?" (v. 4). They still did not understand that the power of Jesus overcomes all difficulties. But instead of admonishing them for their lack of faith, after all they had seen Jesus perform this same miracle earlier, Jesus takes the small morsels of food from the disciples, "And He directed the people to sit down on the ground, and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and starting giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people." (v.6). Jesus didn't need those seven loaves and few fishes. He could have spoken into existence a feast fit for kings. Instead He wanted to show what we can gain by trusting Him with everything we have. By doing so He will reward our trust and faith by providing a bountiful of blessings in our lives. And He will keep on providing. Instead of making a big pile of bread and another of fish, Jesus handed out a little at a time and kept doing so until as verse 8 tells us, "...they ate and were satisfied...". That's how God acts in our lives, always loving and always providing for our every need and sustaining us with the power of His word. What do you do in times of hunger? Do you, like the disciples, focus on the problem instead of on God? We can trust in Him in even the most difficult of circumstances. There is nothing He can't overcome!

Mark

Hiding God’s Word in Your Heart {Scripture Saturday}

3:54 AM

By Sandra Wyatt


Welcome to Scripture Saturday! Today we continue our memorization of verses found in Mark with Mark 3:16-19…

He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the sone of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.

I chose these verses for a personal reason…I wanted to spend time memorizing the names of the disciple. I was never made to memorize them as a child…better late than never!

Have a precious and blessed day everyone!

Mark 3:16-19

Faith

Jesus: Our Faith Focus!! {Mark 7}

7:19 AM



Have you ever been in a very difficult situation and felt God wasn’t listening to your prayer? What was your reaction? Did you continue praying fervently for your miracle or did you just decide it was useless because maybe you were not worthy of receiving it? 

In verses 24-30 we find that Jesus decided to travel to Tyre a Phoenician coastal city that was quite a distance from Jerusalem, about 200 miles. While the Jews considered this place and most of its inhabitants unclean, Jesus did not. He was teaching His disciples something they would never forget: He was taking them to the people they would not be willing to relate to, but were in much need, too! We could often be in this situation… The people we don’t want to relate with are those that are special to God. Is there anyone that you would prefer not to minister to? Then they are probably the very people among whom God wants you to minister! 

Jesus probably went there to get away from the Jewish crowds and the controversy that He had been stirring up among the teachers of the law. But the word had already spread all the way to Tyre, that Jesus was a compassionate man who had healed many people in different places. 

Among these people we find a female Gentile, who was seeking help for her daughter who had an evil spirit. This story is told right after Jesus declared that all foods were clean (vss. 1-23). 
“25 Instead, after hearing about Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile (Greek), a [g]Syrophoenician by nationality. And she kept pleading with Him to drive the demon out of her daughter.” This Gentile woman “kept pleading”, that means her initial request for a miracle was denied by Jesus! But she was NOT hesitant, she knew deep inside she had a compassionate all-loving Jesus in front of her. At her insistence, Jesus’ response was somewhat harsh: “27 He was saying to her, “First let the children [of Israel] be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the [h]pet dogs (non-Jews).” (AMP) 28 But she replied, “Yes, Lord, but even the pet dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” (AMP) 

M. Henry comments: “His saying, Let the children first be filled, shows that there was mercy for the Gentiles, and not far off. She spoke, not as making light of the mercy, but magnifying the abundance of miraculous cures among the Jews, in comparison with which a single cure was but as a crumb. Thus, while proud Pharisees are left by the blessed Savior, he manifests his compassion to poor humbled sinners, who look to him for children’s bread. “ 

29 And He said to her, “Because of this answer [reflecting your humility and faith], go [knowing that your request is granted]; the demon has left your daughter [permanently].” Jesus granted her, her miracle (Hebrews 11:6) and by this He declared that all people are clean, including women and Gentiles! This would have presented a real problem for a Jew as did the food and washing issues that Jesus had previously addressed.

This woman was fearless! She did not go home, weary or bitter over what Jesus had said. She had set her faith on Jesus and knew that He was merciful and compassionate. His initial response did not let her lose her main focus (FAITH): that she would see her daughter healed! Imagine… through Jesus a Gentile woman, living in a Gentile land, had as much access to God through her faith as a Jew!

You and I need the same FAITH FOCUS. We need to be steadfast in seeking God for help, even if He seems “reluctant” to offer that help. He sees our heart, our faith and not our nationality, race or credentials. Have you given up on some faith project or need? Perhaps this is a good day to renew your faith and earnestly seek our compassionate God through Jesus Christ!!

Blessings!

Mari

Becky Bramlett Austin

Eyes that See. Hearts that Trust {Mark 6}

7:05 AM



By Becky Bramlett Austin 

When we studied these same events in Matthew, I focused most of my comments on the feeding of the 5000. Today, however, as I studied Mark 6, other facets of this chapter caused me to reflect on what my eyes truly see and in whom my heart truly trusts. 

In vs 1-6, Jesus returns to his own country and although he amazed the people there with his wisdom and knowledge, they quickly dismissed any notion that he could be the Messiah because they focused on his human labels: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judah, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.” (v 3). They could not comprehend how the common boy/young man they had watched grow up among them could possibly be the incarnate God, the Messiah. How hard it is sometimes to look past the familiarity of what we know about a person and see the handiwork of God. When we put limitations on others because of our stereotypes and prejudices, we limit our ability to see in those people what God wants us to see and we limit how he may want to teach us or bless us through them. Especially if we have a history with someone, we may not find it easy to give them the grace to be anything more than what we think they can be. 

In vs 12 – 13, Jesus sends the disciples out in pairs and gives them specific instructions to limit their provisions and rely on the hospitality of those they find to stay with during their journey. I’m a think ahead and prepare for any possible scenario kind of person. For example, I keep a “just in case” bag in my car with all kinds of things I might need for everyday life situations. These instructions from Jesus would probably be hard for me to comfortably follow. But sometimes, I think God asks us to go into situations without our usual provisions and creature comforts. Sometimes he asks us to just trust Him to provide what we need and through whom he chooses to provide it. Sometimes he may need others to see that we are willing to do just that so that it builds their faith too.

The final encouraging take away from this chapter for me was the compassion of Jesus to notice our human need for rest and comfort. When the disciples returned from their journeys, Jesus wanted to hear all about it. Just like prayer today. I think God wants us to share with him our day. And Jesus was concerned about their need for rest after the hustle and bustle of being busy. 

“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (v 31). 
When the disciples were out in the boat and Jesus remained alone to pray, he noticed the effort of their rowing against the storms and wind. “And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea..” (v48). I find comfort in knowing that Jesus notices when I am struggling with the efforts of rowing against my own winds of life. Notice that when Jesus came to them, the winds were still rough. Jesus comes to us in the midst of our storm. We may not have the peace of the winds being settled yet, but we can take comfort that the one who controls those winds is near. We just have to have eyes to see him and hearts that trust him. What wonderful things did you observe from Mark 6?

Faith

Be Not Afraid, Only Believe {Mark 5}

1:26 PM



By Sue Desmarais

We have been following Jesus now from one hopeless situation to another. We have seen Jesus demonstrate His power,
over a stormy sea
a demon-possessed man
a very sick woman
And a girl who’s died.

We read these reports in Matthew 8 and we’ll read them again in Luke 8. Through these accounts Jesus proves to all of us that He is more than capable of handling any situation He is faced with.

Jesus merely spoke and a stormy sea suddenly became calm and the wind stopped. At His command a man held captive by the devil was set free. His power instantly healed a woman who had suffered for years. Jesus even proved to have victory over death when He brought a girl back to life by taking her by the hand and commanding her to get up. 

Each of these situations proves that Jesus is the Master of the hopeless situation, which is probably why Matthew, Mark and Luke each chose to include them in their letter! We are loved by a Savior who possesses all authority and power, Matt. 28:18; Eph. 3:20. We serve a Lord with whom nothing is impossible, Luke 1:37. Yet there was one key response all those around Him shared during these times that seemed to jump off the page to me this week. Notice:

  • When Jesus rebuked the wind and the sea, Jesus turned to His disciples and said, “Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?” (4:40)
  • When the town’s people saw that Jesus had healed the demon-possessed man the people were afraid of Jesus and begged Him to leave the area.
  • When Jesus turns to discover who had touched Him, the woman’s first reaction was one of fear.
  • When the synagogue’s leader is told that his daughter has died, Jesus’ first words to him were, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.”


That’s it! In every situation we will face, we will also face the choice to face it with fear or with faith.
Faith and fear cannot exist together. It’s an “either – or” dilemma. Faith is described in Hebrews 11:1 as being “certain of what we do not see.” It is an absolute belief that God is constantly working behind the scenes in every area of our lives, even when there is no tangible evidence to support that fact. 

On the other hand fear, simply stated, is unbelief OR weak belief. As unbelief takes over in our thoughts, fear takes hold of our emotions. Our deliverance from fear and worry has got to be based on faith. 

We also need to understand that faith is not something that we can produce in ourselves. Faith is a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) and is described as a fruit (or characteristic) which is produced in our lives by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). The Christian’s faith is a confident assurance in a God who loves us, who knows our thoughts and cares about our deepest needs. The more intimately we know Him, the great our faith in Him will be! These examples can help us to build our faith as we study the Bible and meditate on the attributes of His amazing character allowing these truths to take root and grow in our lives.

BUT it’s also important for us to see Jesus in action in our own lives! The more we learn about God and the more we can see Him working in our lives, the stronger our faith becomes. 

None of us, if we’re honest, would ask for trials to come into our lives, but we can trust they will come, for the Lord will use all the means He can to grow us into the likeness of His Son. We also know once we’ve reached heaven and if given the chance to look back we will all agree it was worth it all.  Therefore, my prayer today for each of us is that when the trials come we’ll be ready to meet them head on with faith, trusting God to act on our behalf just as He did in the lives of others.

Be blessed today!

Sue

Lisa Thayer

When you go and sow, the kingdom of God will grow {Mark 4}

5:37 AM



By Lisa Thayer

Happy Valentine’s Day Ladies!

The first word Jesus says in today’s reading is, “Listen!” This is a chapter we all need to pay attention to. Yes, we’ve heard these parables before, but do you understand them? Are you listening?
The parable of the four soils can best be explained by saying, ‘when you go and sow, the kingdom of God will grow’. Jesus tells us that, “The farmer sows the word.” (v. 14)

Do you ever wonder how someone you love can hear a clear gospel message and yet not respond by receiving Christ? Are you bothered when you see someone seemingly make a decision for Christ and get all excited about it only to end up drifting away when disappointment comes? Does it trouble you when others get all wrapped up in the worries of this world? Does it bother you when someone gets all wrapped up in the wealth of this world? The trouble here is not with sower nor the seed, but with the soil, or rather the soul.

When you go and sow, the kingdom of God will grow.

A hard heart will not allow the seed to grow. Nor will a hollow heart allow the seeds grow. Seeds that fall on a hindered heart will be choked out by the weeds of life (cares of this world). But seeds sown in a humble heart, will grow and produce a crop. Humble-hearted people hear and accept and bear fruit. Jesus says in Luke 8:15, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by preserving, produce a crop.”

Mark 4:9, Jesus says, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” One of the keys to living the Christian life is to never stop listening to the Lord. Do we hear and heed what He says? If we are not willing to ‘heed’ what God says, we will not ‘hear’ what He says.

Isn’t it interesting that in each of these four types of soil, they all ‘hear’ the Word? The first the seed fell “along” the trampled trail. In the second, it fell “on” rocky ground. In the third, the seed settled “among” the thorns. In the fourth, the seed went “into” the good soil. Have you allowed God’s Word into your life?

It’s a mystery how these seeds grow. Jesus says, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

This is a good reminder that the gospel message cannot be manipulated. The seed of the gospel grows and we don’t know how. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

When we come to the parable of the mustard seed, I am reminded that this smallest seed, which represents our words used to share the gospel message, when it falls on the right soil (soul), it will grow into the largest plant and produce a place for others to gather the seed and spread it around. We have no idea the soil, we simply have to respond as we have been commanded. As a Christian we are to share the truth of Christ. We can’t get wrapped up in how much we say, we simply need to respond as the Holy Spirit leads.

When we break open a piece of fruit or a vegetable, what is inside? Typically a lot more seeds. That’s what happens to us as we share our life experiences with others and share how Christ entered our lives and changed us. Our broken lives shared with others is the perfect way to share the gospel message.

When you go and sow, the kingdom of God will grow.

And the last story in this chapter when Jesus calms the storm, we are reminded that problems occur in every area of life. As a Christian, we will have stormy weather and calm seas. We need to be prepared for the storms that will definitely come. We cannot surrender to the stress, but remain resilient and recover from the setbacks. With faith in Christ, we can pray, trust and move ahead. With just a word, Jesus can calm the storms in your life.

Discipleship

A Call to Discipleship {Mark 3}

6:44 AM



By Lisa Moore

Each week my son reads what I write before I post it. He gives it a quick scan for grammatical errors, and afterwards we have a great conversation. This week when I was giving him the "condensed version", (as he likes to call it), of Mark Chapter 3, he asked, "Why did Jesus choose disciples, why 12, and can you name them all?"

Jesus came to earth to restore our relationship with God by providing the perfect, and only, path to the Father. While here He began a traveling ministry focused on healing, teaching, and establishing His Church. Knowing that His time here was short, He needed to choose those who would take on the important task of continuing His work after He was gone. This was not a decision that Jesus took lightly. After all, He was purchasing this Church with His own precious blood. Before He made His choice, Luke 6:12 tells us that the first thing Jesus did was to pray. "It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God." Jesus trusted in the counsel of God in every decision He made. After praying, Mark 3:13-14 tells us that He, 

"...summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve so that He could send them out to preach."

Why did Jesus choose twelve? The number twelve is used 187 times in the Bible. In most cases it is represented as the number of perfection and authority. Some examples include Jacob who had twelve sons who were the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Gen 35:23). Jesus first spoke in the temple at the age of twelve. (Luke 2:42). He raised from the dead the twelve year old daughter of Jarius. (Mark 5:42). The miracle of the twelve baskets of left over loaves and fishes. (Matt. 14:20). In the new city of Jerusalem, there is a great high wall with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. (Rev. 21:12). 

And Jesus chose His twelve. "And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, 'Sons of Thunder'); and Andrew, and Philip, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot; and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him." (Mark 3:16-19).

There was nothing especially remarkable about these men Jesus chose. They weren't Lords or Princes. They weren't great scholars or high priests. They were average men who throughout the Gospels we see fail, struggle, and doubt God. Yet Jesus chose these men to witness the miracles He performed. To witness His power over nature, and His ability to raise the dead. They would be the ones to testify to the world that Jesus was who He said He was; the Lord of all creation, and the Source of eternal life for all who accept Him as their Savior.

Before Jesus transcended into heaven He gave what is know as the Great Commission to the disciples. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit...". (Matt. 28:19). This is the same command that He gives to us. We too are called to be His disciples. Jesus doesn't care about our past, our failures, or our social standing. What He wants is a close personal relationship with us. He wants us to love Him, and to tell others about Him so they too can know Him and spend eternity with Him. Won't you as a disciple of Jesus take a moment today to share the Good News of the Lord?

Mark

Scripture Saturday {Mark 1:35}

1:14 AM




By Sandra Wyatt

Welcome to Scripture Saturday! Today we begin our memorization of verses found in Mark. Our first is Mark 1:35…

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed.

In this verse we see that Jesus frames the daylight hours with a commitment to prayer and communion with God…He got up early, before the regular day’s activities began. Although you might find that other times work better for you, the point is, you should see prayer as a priority that will make all your other priorities more manageable and less stressful. Let prayer time be your time to rest in God, to let him renew your strength, brighten your hope, and sharpen your faith.

Jesus’ early morning prayer shows us the depth of his humility. Rising so early in the morning to pray meant that his first thoughts were on His Father. Finding a secret place to pray not only provided Jesus with less distractions, it demonstrates to us his intense desire to commune with his Father. 

When we pray in a solitary place it can eliminate the temptation for us to perform for others.

Jesus also prayed alone. It is an example for us of secret prayer…”But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)

Converse with Him, keep up communion with Him, and give Him your best everyday!

Here is a link that may bless you…

https://www.jashow.org/articles/general/gospel-of-mark-robby-gallaty-program-4/

Have a precious and blessed day everyone!

Angie Benjamin

Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man {Mark 2}

4:51 AM





By Angie Benjamin

Today's Reading: 
Mark 2:1-12

2 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Afternoon sisters, I'll try to make some points on the story of the Paralyzed man whom Jesus healed in this passage. I'm considering and expounding Matthew Henry's commentary.

In this passage we see a group of men, probably friends who were having a hard time getting by Jesus side, they were coming to him, but couldn't get close because of the big crowd.

Isn't this scene a bit similar to what happens in successful or busy churches, where we can be so oblivious to the needy people who want to see Jesus? We should not be  the people in a church that we are so preoccupied with our own relationships and agendas that we don't see those who are trying to get in...Are we letting them in? Are we making a way to reach Jesus? Are we being an obstacle on their way??

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
2:1-12 It was this man's misery that he needed to be so carried, and shows the suffering state of human life; -

Some people have a hard time coming to Jesus, just as the man mention in this portion of Scripture. They may be paralyzed by their doubts, their questions, or even the fears... Sin also paralyzes. It doesn't allow us to go through life with the freedom God intended us to live with. 

  - it was kind of those who so carried him, and teaches the compassion that should be in men, toward their fellow-creatures in distress.- 

When we recognize someone's needs you can meet, either by yourself or with others who are also concern, how do you act?

Let us make a commitment to do whatever in our power to help them to see Jesus.

 True faith and strong faith may work in various ways; but it shall be accepted and approved by Jesus Christ. Sin is the cause of all our pains and sicknesses. The way to remove the effect, is to take away the cause. Pardon of sin strikes at the root of all diseases. 

Christ proved his power to forgive sin, by showing his power to cure the man sick of the palsy. And his curing diseases was a figure of his pardoning sin, for sin is the disease of the soul; when it is pardoned, it is healed.

*Before saying to the paralytic "get up", Jesus said "Son, your sins are forgiven". To the Jewish leaders must have been such an aggravation...such a blasphemous statement. But Jesus proved them wrong. By forgiving this man's sins, He was made whole. Isn't this beautiful? Jesus dealt with the root of every evil, every disease and in exchange He makes everything right and whole...to those who accept to trade their sins and receive His forgiveness.

 When we see what Christ does in healing souls, we must own that we never saw the like. Most men think themselves whole; they feel no need of a physician, therefore despise or neglect Christ and his gospel. But the convinced, humbled sinner, who despairs of all help, excepting from the Saviour, will show his faith by applying to him without delay.


We are all completely spiritually paralyzed before we are set free by Jesus. The Bible says that we are dead in our trespasses, and that we need to have our spirits revived to live a life that is meaningful and connected to the life-giving grace of God.  And until we are healed of our spiritual paralysis, and only then, can we really deal with all the other paralyses we may have.

Now, physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual paralysis are not modern phenomena.  These issues are often addressed in Scripture, and I believe those myriad stories are there to help us to see our need for Christ and His healing touch. 

Jesus is the only One who can break the chains of spiritual paralysis.   Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father, except by Me!
But if you are still dealing with your own issues, go to Jesus so you can be set free, and then be enabled to go to others.

Have a beautiful Weekend! x


Becky Bramlett Austin

Fishers of Men {Mark 1}

9:18 AM



By Becky Bramlett Austin

Today we begin the book of Mark. Being one of the four gospels, we will revisit many of the same stories and testimonies about Jesus but each gospel has a unique emphasis and perspective to offer. Mark is believed by most to be “ a sister's son to Barnabas, and the son of Mary, a pious woman of Jerusalem, at whose house the apostles and first Christians assembled (Col 4:10; Acts 12:12). 

Although not one of the 12 disciples, his accounts portray information at least gathered from an actual eye witness. Many believe that Mark may have been a convert of the disciple Peter and that Peter may have mentored him. Mark’s gospel is primarily written to new believers, including Gentiles, and has a lot of focus on enduring persecution. Although it portrays more about what Jesus did than what Jesus says, it gives a very simple and concise portrait of the humanity of Jesus but also emphasizes his deity.

Right at the beginning, Mark draws attention to Jesus being the Son of God and the prophesied Messiah, whom John the Baptist prepared the people hearts to accept. “ The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee (v1-2). And John proclaimed Jesus’ important position and righteousness.”

“There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.””

Mark then quickly provides snapshots of Jesus ministry: the calling of the first disciples (vv 16-20), the first exorcism of unclean spirits (vv21-28), the first healing summary (vv32-34), the first prayer where Jesus goes off alone to be with God (v35), the first journey where Jesus begins to spread his teachings to surrounding areas (v 36-29), and the first story of miraculous restoration as Jesus heals a leper and restores him to society (vv 40-45).

Out of all of these events, I wanted to continue the theme that Sue started yesterday in the closing chapters of Matthew, and call attention to the important emphasis on discipleship. 

“Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.

And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.”

When we become Christians, it is because Jesus calls us to follow him. He expects us to be willing to forsake the things of this world to live out an intimate relationship that prioritizes his glory and his will above our own. In following him, he equips us to disciple others and be “fishers of men”. 

Perhaps you don’t feel capable of disciplining others. Be encouraged that Jesus did not seek out the educated, pious religious rulers for this important task, but rather the simple, humble, everyday common people of society. Jesus is the one who teaches and equips. We become the tools through which he spreads his wisdom and love to others. There are so many lonely women out there who would be receptive to a genuine friendship. I want to encourage you to pray about such opportunities in your life.

Discipleship

The Great Commission {Matthew 28}

4:38 AM



Post by; Sue Desmarais

Before we get into the message for today may I ask,

  •  How long have you been at the church you attend?
  • Do you ever feel like you’re on this journey alone?
  • Do you ever feel like an outsider within it?
  • How many members truly know what’s going on within you? (The struggles you’re dealing with on a daily basis?)
  • How many within your church community can you get beyond a surface conversation with?
  • How many are you comfortable with asking for personal prayer needs?
  • How many in your church confide in you about what THEY are going through and not what someone else is going through?
  • How many are you comfortable enough with to confide in that will also hold you accountable in order to grow your faith?
  • How many can you count on to be there when you most need them?
  • How many will go the extra mile with you on this amazing journey with Christ?


Jesus had a way to grow His church numerically as well as to mature it, and to meet all the needs listed above, but the trouble is most churches today are failing to follow it! These were Jesus’ last words to His disciples after finishing the work our Father had given Him, and right before He ascended back to heaven:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.” –Mt 28:18-20

What exactly does Jesus mean by “Go and make disciples”?

This was taken from Robby Gallaty’s website on discipleship: “Disciple-making is intentionally entering into someone’s life to help them know and follow Jesus (Evangelism) and to teach them to obey His commands (Discipleship)…Evangelism and Discipleship are like two oars on the rowboat of disciple-making. They are both necessary to move the boat in the proper direction.”

Robby Gallaty begins his book, Growing Up with the statement:
“The gospel came to you because it was heading to someone else. God never intended for salvation to be an end, but a beginning. God saved you to be a conduit through whom His glorious, life-chancing gospel would flow to others.” Have you ever thought of this before?

One of my favorite verses has always been 2 Timothy 2:2, because of the picture it portrays,

The things [the doctrine, the admonitions, the sum of my ministry] which you have heard me teach in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable and faithful men who will also be capable and qualified to teach others.” – 2 Timothy 2:2

Did you see it? Paul linked his arms with Timothy and others, who linked with other faithful men, who linked arms with others. I’m sure you all are familiar with a chain-linked fence and that it is almost impossible to destroy it. In fact, the only way to break it is to cut the links. This is God’s idea for His church. Just think about this for a minute… if we were all linked one to another no one would ever feel they were alone, and all of us would be working, growing together and moving further on our journey TOGETHER.

Think for a moment of Jesus’ example He set for us in His three years of ministry. He was followed by 100s, but he chose to invest in 12 men, and of the 12, He chose just 3 men (Peter, James and John) to witness His entire ministry. Imagine if each of us would commit to spend a year teaching/leading a group of 3 other women.

  • This group would create an atmosphere for fellowship, support, encouragement and accountability.
  • It would make the perfect environment where God could work.
  • The purposes would be for each of us to grow in our relationship with Christ and guiding others in their relationship with Him.
  • At the end of the year each member would take on 3 more women and then the following year 3 more and so on and so on! This was God’s plan for building His church modeled for us through our Lord Jesus Christ.


All of us need fellowship with other Christ followers. We need to be encouraged by them and we need to be held accountable to them in order to grow. To be more specific, all of us need a
  • Paul (an older more mature woman pouring her life into us)
  • Barnabus(s) – friends who teach, encourage and hold us accountable
  • Timothy(s) – younger believer(s) in whom we can begin to invest in.


(I used these men, but I believe when God speaks of discipleship He intended it to be women with women and men with men.) If you are missing any of these relationships, I’d encourage you to begin TODAY asking our Father to help fill the void.

On a personal note <3 This has probably been one of the hardest posts I’ve had to write because it is so close to my heart! I could go on and on, for there is so much I’d like to add! But let me close with this: After I accepted Christ as my Savior & Lord a more mature woman came and invested one year of her life in me. Two years later I began investing in others. That was over 30 years ago! Just imagine the number of women who would be linked together today if all of us had followed Christ’s example! (Hint: The number would be in the thousands!)

If you study Matthew 28:18-20 you’ll quickly realize that Jesus commands ALL of us to, “Go and make disciples!”, but may I also add that if you follow His command it will be one of the greatest investments you’ll ever make in His kingdom and one of the biggest blessings you’ll ever receive this side of heaven!