Mark 8:11-12 Wrong Reasons for Signs

“The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given it.” Mark 8:11-12

Everyday Jesus was out teaching and performing many miracles. Thousands of people were coming to Him and talking about these miracles. They saw these miracles as signs from God.

Now the Pharisees come and ask for a sign. Their purpose was not to believe in Jesus, but to try to prove that He was a false teacher/prophet. They did not believe that Jesus was from God. If Jesus could not give the sign, than they would have their proof that He was not real.

One who believes in Jesus, must do so on faith. Faith is believing without physically seeing. It is believing when there is nothing in the natural to give you reason to believe.

Many people will ask for a sign like the Pharisees did. They really don’t believe in Jesus, but want some kind of proof that He is false. If the sign doesn’t happen, then Jesus was not real.

This is a different asking for a sign, then what the believer will ask. When a believer asks for a sign, he has already heard from God and just wants a confirmation that He heard correctly. He believes what God has said.

Jesus had stated that there would be many signs and that you must watch for them. If you are led by God’s Holy Spirit, you will see and understand those signs. You will not need any more signs from God.

Why do you ask for a sign from God? Is it out of unbelief, or from belief? God wants to build your faith in Him. He will use signs to do that, but you must be willing to accept them. You must also be willing to accept God’s choice to not show signs at times, and still trust Him.

I pray today that God will open your eyes to what He is doing; that you will see the signs that God is showing; that you will not test God to prove Him wrong; that you will walk with God in faith; and that God will build your faith in Him.

Mark 7:28-29 Last Hope

“Lord, she replied, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs. Then he told her, For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” Mark 7:28-29

Jesus had been teaching in the area of Tyre. A Greek woman came up to Jesus and fell at His feet begging for Him to drive a demon out of her daughter.

Since she was a Greek and not a Jew, Jesus answered in an interestingly harsh way. He states that the children must be allowed to eat all they want first before giving food to the dogs. Jesus was basically saying that because she was not an Israelite but a Greek, she was a dog and should not be given anything yet.

The woman points out that, however, the dogs get to eat crumbs that the children fall from the table. She did not necessarily want the full bread that Jesus was giving out, she just wanted a little small crumb. All she desired was a little mercy for her daughter, nothing for herself directly.

Jesus sees this statement as one of great faith and hope. He drives out the demon immediately.

This woman knew who she was and where she stood with the Jewish people. She understood that as an outsider, she would not be allowed to share in the blessings of God fully. Yet, she had some hope that Jesus would hear her plea.

She may have been looking at all the miracles Jesus performed. She may have seen the mercy and grace He had been showing many people. Looking at all these things, she may have realized that He would most likely show mercy on her also.

Jesus was her last hope and she clung to it. She did not give up easily. When the answer sounded negative, she pointed to the way God works.

Today, when you are seeking God for something, show Him the words He spoke in the Bible. Appeal to His love and promises. Believe that He can and will meet your need. Trust God as your last and only hope.

I pray today that you will trust in Jesus for all of your needs; that you will know the promises of God; that God will reveal His love and mercy to you; that you will not give up in trusting in Jesus; and that Jesus will be your last and only hope in everything in life.

Mark 7:6 Where Is Your Heart?

“He replied, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Mark 7:6

The disciples were eating some food with unwashed hands. The Pharisees, then, complained to Jesus about the disciples eating with unwashed hands. This was breaking a tradition of a ceremony they would go through on a regular basis.

Jesus then quotes Isaiah 29:13, in stating that they honor with lips only and not with the heart. He calls them hypocrites. A hypocrite is a person who says one thing, but does something entirely different.

The Pharisees would honor God with their lips. They would say all the prayers, teach the Law, and sing the praises of God. At the same time, however, they would also cut a person down who did not follow all of their man-made rules. No where did the Law talk about washing hands before eating. Man came up with this rule. Their hearts were far from God.

Even today, hearts can be far away from God. In the church, many people get wrapped up in making sure the service is done correctly: opening ceremonies, three songs (and only hymns), offering, the sermon, prayer, and go home. Others get wrapped up in the color of the carpet, or type of pews. If anything is done outside of this, watch out.

Along with these petty issues, many also have the problem that during the service their mind is on other things. How many times is a person thinking about lunch or after the service while the sermon is being preached? Or while singing a worship song, they are looking at another person, thinking about how they are dressed or something they did? Or they are thinking about work?

In each of these, the outside actions are the same, but the heart is not in it for God. God is almost an afterthought. This is what Jesus calls a hypocrite.

Where is your heart today? Are your thoughts focused on God? When you are in a service, are worshipping God from the heart? Or are you just going through the motions?

Keep your heart, actions and focus on God at all times. Do not follow man’s traditions and forget about God.

I pray today that God will show you where you do not honor Him; that you will keep your focus on Jesus at all times; that you do everything you do with a heart for God and people; that God will help you to not just go through the motions; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.

Mark 6:37-38 Give What You Can

“But he answered, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?’ ‘How many loaves do you have?’ he asked. ‘Go and see.’ When they found out, they said, ‘Five–and two fish.” Mark 6:37-38

Many people had been listening to Jesus teach in a remote area. Since it was getting late, the disciples suggested sending the people home to get some food. Jesus wants the disciples to feed the people.

There were about 5,000 men, not including any women or children in the crowd. The disciples immediately realized the challenge. This would cost a lot.

All Jesus asked for was what they had on hand. He did not tell them to go and buy more, but to use what they had. With just five loaves of bread and two fish they fed at least 5,000 grown men. This was a miracle of God’s provision.

Two or three men could easily finish off a loaf of bread and a fish, imagine now 5,000 men and what they could eat. After they ate, there was twelve baskets full of leftovers!

Even today God works the same way. God wants you to be a servant to others and to give to meet the needs of others. God does not ask you to give anything that you do not have. All He asks is that you give of what you have been blessed with.

The disciples must have thought Jesus was crazy when He told them to feed the people with such little food. They probably expected to feed a few and then be done quickly, but that did not happen.

As you give, you must trust God to multiply that gift and to continue to provide for your own needs. Currently, we are in the Christmas season. This is a time of giving. Are you trusting God to help you in giving? Are you giving from the heart or just to look good?

Seek God for what you need to give. Ask God to use it abundantly. Trust God to use your gift. Be willing to give the little that you have. Do not just give out of your surplus, give what God wants you to give.

I pray today that God will show you what you can do for others; that God will do a miracle of multiplication in your giving; that God will bless thousands through you; that God will provide abundantly; and that God will build His kingdom through you.

Mark 6:12 Speak of Repentance

“They went out and preached that people should repent.” Mark 6:12

Jesus had been done all the preaching and teaching. Now He takes the twelve disciples and sends them out to do ministry. He sends them out in groups of two to spread His message.

As they go out they preach one message. That one message is that people should repent.

When Jesus came to this earth, He came with one purpose. That one purpose was to save all people. The only ones that could be saved are those who repent and believe in Jesus.

Repentance is showing regret for wrongs that you did and turning away from doing them again. Every person has sinned. No one, except Jesus, has ever lived a perfect, sinless life.

People do not know this bit of information. They are living their lives like everyone else is. They need to be told about God, Jesus and how to live for them.

Very often you will hear people speak of God’s love. This is good, but there is more to it than just His love. If all you speak of is His love and never tell of the need to repent, they are still lost.

Most people do not like to be told that they are living in the wrong. Many do not want to hear anything about sin, but that is what they need to hear.

Sin has to be called what it is: sin. You should not make light of anything that is sin. All sin is punishable by death. It does not matter if it is just a lie or a murder, it is the same in God’s eyes.

Seek God for ways to present the need for repentance to others. Be willing to speak out against sinful lifestyles. Urge people to repent and turn to Jesus. At that point they will know and have real life that is worth living. Some will accept, others will reject, but you need to give everyone a chance to make that choice.

I pray today that God will open doors for you to tell others about Jesus; that you will not fear telling of the need to repent; that God will remove all fear from you; that God will fill you with His love for people; and that God will build His kingdom through you.

Mark 5:30 Touching Jesus

“At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, Who touched my clothes?” Mark 5:30

Jesus was walking along and talking with many people. There was a large crowd around Him pressing in to be close to Him. Suddenly He makes this statement of asking who touched His clothes.

The disciples are surprised because there is a large crowd. They look at that many people are touching Jesus, but Jesus meant something different. Jesus was talking about someone touching Him with faith.

A woman who was sick, touched His garment and she was instantly healed. Jesus knew this.

Many people like to call upon Jesus and claim to be Christian. They claim it because of parents or close friends and family, but not from the heart. These people are just going through the motions of following and believing in Jesus. Their heart is really not in it.

If you do not have faith in Jesus it is impossible to please God. This woman had faith in Jesus, and so when she touched His garment, it pleased Him. It got His attention.

How many times does a person call out to Jesus for something, but really does not have faith that He will answer it? You may want Jesus to do something, but don’t believe in it happening.

You need to know that God does love you. You need to know that God does want the best for you. You need to know that God will hear you if you believe. You need to believe that Jesus does hear and will meet your needs.

In the busyness and chaotic movement of life, remember that Jesus does know you personally. Reach out to Him in faith, believing He will answer you. Also, be willing to accept the answer He gives you.

Although there are crowds around Jesus, He will know and hear the one who touches Him in faith.

I pray today that God will strengthen your faith in Him; that you will believe that Jesus hears and answers you; that you will call upon Jesus in faith; and that God will meet your needs in the best way possible.

A Gift From God

This weekend my wife, family and I were blessed with eighth great gift from God: a new baby boy! He was born on 12/13/14. He is bright and healthy cheerful boy and our eighth child. Our whole family is excited about the new family member.

As we were getting closer to the day of birth, I had some concerns. Back in July I was laid off from my job. It was a good job, with excellent pay and benefits. I had been at the job for several years and enjoyed it. I still do not fully know why God moved me out of that job, but I know He has a good reason.

Since then, I have been constantly looking for a full-time job. I have applied to various jobs that I qualify for and that would provide for my family. Each one of them has turned me down for unknown reasons. I do have a part-time job that is providing a little income, but not enough to pay for everything.

I have cried out to God many times as to why I cannot get a full job yet. He has stated that it is not time yet.

One of the thoughts God has given me this weekend as we had this baby, was His provision for me. If I had picked up a full-time job in the last month or two, I would now had to have taken a week or more off to help my wife with recovery after having the baby. This would not have looked good to an employer. Most employers, if they would have known I would have to take off that time, would not have hired me at all.

I believe that God had saved me from having to get fired for needing to take extra time off, or being told I cannot be hired for that reason.

God is also showing me that He is the One who provides, not the employer or my working. I am doing what I can with what I have. I need to trust God for direction and the rest of the provision needed. I am not the one who is supposed to be the provider, it is God. I am only supposed to do what He wants me to do and follow Him.

I am now trusting that God knows what He is doing and that He has plans for me and my family. God has blessed us with a new baby, and will continue to bless us with providing for this child and all my other children. I pray that this will bless and encourage you in your needs and families.