Sunday, March 3, 2024

Bedside Manner ...

Today's Readings: OT - Job 40:3-24 / NT - Mark 7:24-37

"After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” - Mark 7:33-37

Bedside manner! How often have we had doctors who were quite skilled professionally but not very gifted in the area of compassion? The best doctor our family ever had was a Christian who was truly moved by our distress over the pain of our child. He was touched by our feelings.

Jesus healed the sick and infirmed. He did so, on a daily basis, but he never became compassion-challenged. In this case, Jesus was moved with a deep sigh over the hardship of the man he healed. As the Great Physician, Jesus had true bedside manner and he did everything well. Jesus was touched by their feelings.

In the words of John W. Peterson, "No one understands like Jesus; ev’ry woe He sees and feels; tenderly He whispers comfort, and the broken heart He heals." And in the thought of Hebrews 4:15, Jesus is a high priest who is able to "sympathize with our weaknesses". Never hesitate to bring your needs to Jesus... He is touched with your feelings.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Job 41 / NT - Mark 8:1-21

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Undivided...

Today's Readings: OT - Job 39:1-40:2 / NT - Mark 7:1-23

"And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’" - Mark 7:6-7

Isn't it interesting when you talk with someone about their job? Those who are new employees are most often excited and totally committed to the company. But, talk with the same people a year or two later and they may still praise the job, but are looking for bigger and better opportunities. There doesn't seem to be any employee loyalty any more. They are very few who have an undivided heart for their employer.

As we read the passage above, we understand that loyalty and devotion has been a rare commodity for generations. Most people are simply focused on themselves and have no real devotion to anyone, including the Lord.  They honor Him with their lips and surface obedience to get all they can out of Him. They are very few who have an undivided heart for the Lord.

Which will it be my friend... lips or heart? Do you wear the cross or proudly display your "fish" bumper sticker, but spend most of your time on personal pursuits? Does the Lord become second or third when new opportunities call for your time and talents?  Maybe it's time to readjust your priorities and become one of the few who have an undivided heart for the Lord.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Job 40:3-24 / NT - Mark 7:24-37

Friday, March 1, 2024

The Hardened Heart...

Today's Readings: OT - Job 38:18-41 / NT - Mark 6:30-56

"When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened." - Mark 6:47-52 
Spring can't come soon enough! Just about every day my wife and I are checking the weather reports, watching the temperatures climb. Soon the the flowers will be blooming, the trees will be budding and the grass will start growing. Spring is just amazing, and if I'm not careful I'll miss the beauty and wonder of it because my familiarity and busyness has hardened my heart.

Imagine the disciples walking with Jesus every day, watching him perform miracles again and again. They saw such wonderful works of God and yet they missed the point and didn't understand. How could this be you might ask. How could anyone participate in feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, having twelve baskets of food left over, and be oblivious to the miracle? Familiarity and busyness can harden the heart.

God is doing tremendous things in your life right now. He's performing miracles moment by moment and if you're not careful, you're going to miss it. Slow down to see the melting snow and feel the slightly warmer breezes. Watch for the promise of spring that will come with new color and fresh life. Step back and watch the Spirit of God mold your life into the likeness of Jesus. Don't be so familiar and busy that you harden your heart.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Job 39:1- 40:2 / NT - Mark 7:1-23

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Impossibilities or Possibilities?

Today's Readings: OT - Job 38:1-17 / NT - Mark 6:1-29

"And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief." -- Mark 6:5-6 
The great Bible scholar G. Campbell Morgan grew up in a Christian home and never questioned that the Bible was the Word of God. But in college, his faith was severely challenged by the philosophies of the day, and he began to entertain doubts. After a steady exposure to skepticism and unbelief, he wrote, "There came a moment when I was sure of nothing.”

The time had come for the very presence of the Lord of creation to be in their midst. The One who, in surrounding communities healed the sick, restored sight to the blind and raised the dead. Yet, neighbors and friends could only ask questions of doubt, failing to look beyond the surface to see the supernatural. The Lord could do no mighty works because the people were filled with the "impossibilities" of unbelief.

Unbelief cripples the soul and hinders the mighty work of God. The Lord responds to unbelief and belief. Where there is doubt there is bondage. Where there is faith there is freedom. What is your "Faith Quotient" today my friend? Jesus said in Mark 9:23, "All things are possible for one who believes". Is your life marked by the "impossibilities" of unbelief or the "possibilities" of faith?

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Job 38:18-41 / NT - Mark 6:30-56

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Personal...

Today's Readings: OT - Job 37:1-24 / NT - Mark 5:35-43

"After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat." - Mark 5:40-43 
We occasionally read about an amazing new medication that will rock the world of health. We read all the testimonies that report unbelievable results from many people who have been helped. We're convinced that this treatment will bring hope and healing to a loved one but... it's not available to the public. We need the powerful to become personal.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Every Easter we celebrate his resurrection with joy and singing. We study the Biblical account of the Lord's miraculous victory over death. We are reminded that the resurrection of Christ is the very foundation of our faith. But hearing and singing about it doesn't bring a change until it comes home. When the risen Savior brings new life to a loved one or friend... the powerful becomes personal.

While resurrection day is yet future, it begins when the Lord brings us from death to life, from darkness to the light, from bondage to freedom. We need the Lord to come home in our hearts before we can be at home in heaven. As Job said in Job 42:5... "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you."  The wonderful truth about the risen Christ is... the powerful became personal.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Job 38:1-17 / NT - Mark 6:1-29

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Right Solution...

Today's Readings: OT - Job 36:22-33 / NT - Mark 5:21-34

"And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well. And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease." - Mark 5:25-29

One summer, shortly after my wife and I were married, we were exposed to poison ivy. For almost two weeks we tried every homeopathic treatment recommended. Nothing worked! The condition only got worse. We finally went to the Doctor, received a shot and were much improved in just two days. Choosing the right solution makes all the difference. 

Today we have read about a dear woman that spent everything and suffered for years without relief. Much like my wife and I, she tried a vast number of recommended options with no success. Finally, when she was at the end of her rope she heard about Jesus. In simple faith, her plan was set and her effort was rewarded. Choosing the right solution made all the difference. 

Have you bounced from one self-help book to the next "guaranteed" recourse for what troubles you, to no avail? Have you finally come to the end of your rope? Why do we exhaust every other possibility before we just give up and in simple faith turn to Jesus? Choose the right solution and HE will make all the difference! 

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Job 37:1-24 / NT - Mark 5:35-43

Monday, February 26, 2024

Take a vacation...

Today's Readings: OT - Job 36:1-21 / NT - Mark 5:1-20

"And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid." - Mark 5:15
In the comedy "What About Bob", a psychiatrist writes his patient a prescription to "take a vacation from his problems". As a result the patient (Bob) finds an uncommon relief and emotional freedom. For many people such a prescription would be just right, but only if the vacation from their problems was permanent.

In this passage Jesus confronts a demoniac and the legion of demons that possessed the man. With divine authority the Lord sends the demons into a herd of pigs and relieves the man of a horrifying condition. As the crowd arrived they found that this man was now "in his right mind",  "taking a vacation from his problems"And since his deliverance was from Jesus, this vacation was permanent.

Does the idea of taking a vacation from your problems sound good my friend? Maybe you have tried a variety of resources and each one has fallen to pieces. Well, if you really want the kind of relief that will restore your "right mind", then turn to the Lord. Only Jesus can provide you with a "vacation from your problems" permanently.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Job 36:22-33 / NT - Mark 5:21-34